How to Show Your Clients That You Respect Their Time
One of the most common complaints clients express about salespeople is that they don’t show enough respect for their time. The best way to avoid this problem is to agree on meeting timing up front. We call this, “the time contract.”
Why a time contract?
Keeping a time contract helps you monitor the time left in the call and know when it’s time to wrap up. Most clients don’t feel comfortable abruptly ending a meeting – you are their guest and they want to be hospitable. But at some point, the meeting needs to be adjourned and it is the salesperson’s job to do so elegantly.
The time contract also protects you. We’ve all been in meetings that end prematurely when we thought we had more time than we actually did. Clarifying how much time you have early on will ensure you don’t get cut off.
Here are some best practices:
Keep your word. How many times have you been on a call that started with “This will only take a few minutes,” and ended up lasting half an hour? Once you establish a time contract, abide by it. Everyone will appreciate that.
Refer to the time contract throughout the call.
“I see we are at the halfway mark. What I would like to do now is focus on _________” or, “Since we only have a few minutes to go, let me check in and make sure that we have accomplished your objectives.” This shows the client that you plan to end the meeting on time and will allow them to focus on your content instead of the clock.
Don’t be afraid to check the time. It is perfectly acceptable to check the time during your call as long as you let the client know why. For example, glancing at your watch without saying anything can seem rude. Instead, look at your watch while saying something like: “I know you wanted to be done by 11:30 a.m..; I just want to make sure we are on track.”
Nobody has enough time today—every minute counts. The time contract is a great way to both optimize your meetings and show your clients that you value their time.
What else do you do to show your clients that you respect their time? Leave a comment below and let us know.