Your business is about serving your clients. It is about making a difference for those clients. That is what a business does, and everything else needs to be aligned around this one idea. Things like “shareholder value” are a distraction.
This is an immutable truth of business:
The people who know the most about clients are the people who actually serve those clients. They know the most about clients because they spend time with them, they deal with them directly, and they are on the front lines when it comes to the challenges presented by serving those clients. No one knows more.
- Unless a leader is in front of clients often enough to have that same experience, they think of clients in the abstract.
- Unless marketing spends time with clients, clients are a collection of demographic and psychographic surveys and research.
- Your clients aren’t names on a billing or profit report.
It doesn’t matter what your title is, and it doesn’t matter how much research you perform, unless you spend time with your clients, you don’t know anything about them, collectively or individually.
No one ever says, “We have a major problem with a client. Let’s see if we can get help from the shareholders. They have a lot riding on this.”
If you want to know how to produce better results for your clients, go and spend time with them. If you want to understand how you can create greater value for the people and companies you serve, go and listen to them. If you want to know how challenging it is to serve those client, go and spend time with the people who are actually doing the work and trying to live your value proposition.
Clients aren’t an abstraction. If you want to improve your performance, go and feel what it is like to deal with the concrete reality of serving your clients.