Think carefully about how you make clients feel.

Do they like to call you?  Do they feel better after talking to you?

This may sound like touchy-feely silliness, but it’s critical to your bottom line.  Because clients will tend to business with you (or not) based on how you make them feel.  It counts as much, or more, than your skill or expertise.  Even if your clients are hard-boiled engineers or no-nonsense numbers guys.

I worked with a guy who was a master at this.  Clients looked forward to calling Brian.  He always sounded delighted to hear from them.  They got his full attention and felt like the center of the universe for that moment.  And it never sounded like glad-handing back-slapping.

If they wanted to bitch about their boss, complain their bum knee, or chat about the game, Brian would let them.  Whatever they needed, he could accommodate.  Or he proposed an alternate that they liked just as much.  He listened way more than he talked.  He always sounded enthusiastic about the project, even if it was really a hairball.

And when the client hung up, she felt good.  Smarter.  Or relieved.  Or confident.  She knew everything would be alright.  She had made the right decision.  She would look good to her boss.  She didn’t feel schmoozed or handled.  She genuinely felt good about the contact.

Brian wasn’t necessarily the best at his particular trade, but he was a five-star pro at making clients like to work with him.  He had a lot of clients.

It’s surprising how often we forget this simple thing.  I have to re-learn his lesson myself a few times a year.   I cringe when I realize how often I grouse in front of clients, whine about impossible deadlines, or somehow make their ideas sound stupid.  Or worse, ramble on about how much I know about everything.  Yipe.

Don’t do that.

Make the client feel better after talking to you.