Day 1 Challenge: Adopt the Advisor Mindset and Serve More Client Needs

[Please note: this article, and the rest of the articles in this series, together constitute the 15  emails in the It Starts with Clients Client Growth Challenge. Please subscribe here to receive them on a weekly basis over the next 100 days]

Welcome to the 100-Day Client Growth Challenge.

I’m excited that you’re joining many other participants around the globe for this powerful, 100-day journey. It will help you strengthen your most important relationships and grow your client base.

We are in the midst of a very turbulent time. Remember, however–business development may slow or stop, but relationship building should not. There are actually unprecedented opportunities–right now–to stay in touch, support, and add value to your clients, ultimately strengthening your relationships for the long term.

If you didn’t get the Growth Guide or had problems downloading it, please contact my EA at and she can send you a copy.

I suggest you start by immediately reading the introduction to the Growth Guide, entitled Engaging Clients and Adding Value in a Crisis. It contains 18 ideas for staying in touch and supporting your clients, even in a turbulent market.

Just so you know what is coming: This Day 1 Challenge kicks off the program. Two days later from now you’ll get your Week 1 Challenge, and then one per week after that. In all, it will add up to 100 days (a two-day kickoff and then 14 weeks!).

Here’s a tip and your Day 1 Challenge:

TIP: Change Your Mindset and You’ll Be Able to See and Serve More Client Needs

Change Your Mindset and You'll Be Able to See and Serve More Client Needs Click To Tweet

During the 2008 great recession, I had a client, an executive search consultant, who called me with troubling news: He told me that his prospects and clients wouldn’t even take meetings or phone calls with him because they said they just weren’t hiring, and so there was no point in talking. He was rightfully distraught.

The problem? He viewed himself as an expert in “filling executive positions”–and that’s how his clients saw him, also. And since there were none to be filled, he was out of business.

Other clients of mine in the same profession stayed busy because they defined themselves as being in the leadership talent acquisition, development, and retention business–a far broader scope. Their clients were happy to see them, because they still had talent issues to contend with and needed experienced counsel.

So your first “mission” or assignment is to assess your own mindset. Are you an expert-for-hire or a client advisor?

Why is this important especially now? You need deep expertise, but the expert mindset limits your ability to help clients. When they have a need for something that isn’t exactly what you do–even if it’s adjacent–they won’t turn to you as a valued resource. Yet, you probably know their business and organization extremely well…

Client needs have suddenly changed due to the current health and economic crises, and you need to think of yourself as helping your clients solve their toughest issues and challenges, not being just a provider of solution X or product Y (of course, this is within the broad scope of your abilities and experience–e.g., I’m not going to advise on software development, for example! But, I could advise on the collaborative behavioral changes that are needed to successfully implement new software). It could mean just being a sounding board for a difficult decision, or introducing them to another client of yours who is facing similar challenges.

This attitude shift can dramatically change your behavior. For example: Experts tell, advisors ask great questions and listen. Experts build professional credibility, advisors develop deep personal trust. Experts sell a solution, advisors create an eager buyer. Experts are reactive, advisors are proactive. Experts analyze, advisors analyze and synthesize. And so on.

Your Day 1 Challenge: Adopt the Advisor Mindset to See More Client Opportunities

Here’s the Day 1 Assignment: Complete pages 9-11 in the Growth Guide. You can also click here to download this assignment as a separate PDF: Day 1 Assignment.pdf

In addition, I’d like you to try this simple exercise, which is especially timely. Think about your mainstream clients: what are their most urgent, evolving priorities? Make a list of them. Now, consider your full range of experiences and skills, AND your knowledge of the client’s organization. Are there some client needs from the list that you can address or be a sounding board for, even though they are technically a bit outside your typical solution set? Hopefully, this will suggest additional opportunities with your clients, perhaps more than you may have thought you had when just thinking in terms of your traditional services or solutions.

In two days I will send you your Week 1 Challenge, which will help you select the right clients for your particular business. Look out for it!

By the way, to get the value out of these assignments, you really need to Read It Starts with Clients. If you don’t have a copy, please do buy one as this Growth Guide and this email series were developed expressly for people who have purchased the book or been gifted a copy. You can get one here, on Amazon. Thank you!

I’m looking forward to seeing you develop and grow your client base and earn clients for life as a trusted advisor!

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