The Client’s Ultimate Weapon

This past Friday, I was on both sides of the table. In the morning, I was in a meeting with a potential new client and in the afternoon, I was in a doctor’s office as the client.

During the morning meeting, our new potential client asked a lot of questions about what we do, how we do it and how we are compensated. The best question he asked was also the hardest:

Since you get paid by the landlord, isn’t there an inherent conflict of interest?

I started my normal explanation. We have a fiduciary responsibility to you as our client, we are interested in the long-term relationship, and at the end of the deal, if you don’t want to sign, you don’t have to. And then I ended with following:

If we don’t do a good job, you will never use us again.

I could tell by his body language that this resonated. We pride ourselves on being “sticky” with our clients, listening to their needs, providing thoughtful advice along with great service, and in many cases, doing multiple deals. I explained that not doing a second deal with him would be a complete failure in my mind. He was happy with the answer.

After a lunch meeting, I went to a doctor appointment. I arrived on time.

After an hour in the waiting room, I was brought back to meet the doctor. He didn’t apologize for making me wait. In fact, he didn’t acknowledge it all. He asked me several questions about my medical history without making eye contact, and all the information could have been found in my chart, as I am a past patient of the larger practice.

The exam was impersonal and while I understand that it was 3:30 pm on a gorgeous Friday afternoon, I couldn’t help but feel that I was rushed out the door. In fact, he walked me out while I was still asking questions.

On my way out, his billing person said that they would send me a bill in the mail. I assured her I would send her a bill for the time I spent waiting. She didn’t laugh and I don't think they care or not if I ever come back. That's the impression I was left with and I certainly will never step foot in that office again.

I hope my clients never feel taken for granted like I was.  This was a great reminder to make sure that everyone is treated how I would expect to be treated if I was on the other side of the relationship.

When you consider how hard it is in our business to get a client, we should all make sure we do what we can to keep them.

After all, if they aren’t a repeat client, it’s a complete failure, right?