Date Night With A Client
It snuck up on both of us.
Neither of us saw it coming despite the fact that we had known each other over ten years and we had been working together for the last eight.
But sometimes life throws you a curve ball and you just have to swing at it.
That’s how I ended up on a date night with one of my vendors.
Things started out really well between the two of us. Carl and I had started working together when he first started his company eight years ago. In fact, I was his first client.
Over the years, we’ve become friends as well as colleagues.
That’s why the phone call was so hard.
On our last project, Carl dropped the ball. Big time.
And it cost me a boatload of money.
If you know me at all, you know nothing makes me madder than losing money, especially when it is caused by someone else’s mistake.
Now, Carl is a stand up guy. I mean really honest, full of integrity and he deeply cares about his clients. I knew he wasn’t slacking on the project. He just didn’t get started soon enough and it came back to bite him – and me – in the butt.
So, I had to call Carl and tell him I wasn’t going to pay the full amount of the last invoice. And I had to spell out for him that, as a long-time client, I was disappointed and dismayed.
If you have ever had a long-term relationship with a service provider who has become a friend, you can imagine how hard it was to make that call.
During the course of our conversation it became clear that over the course of working together we had both developed a set of assumptions about what the other person was thinking.
And we all know what they say when you assume – you make an ass out of you and me.
That’s when we decided we needed a “date night”.
We needed to get together and take time to get to know each other again. He needed to court me again and remind me why I chose him in the first place. And I needed to make clear to him what I was looking for and what my expectations were.
It is exactly the same thing you do in any other long-term, important relationship. When you have quality time with each one of your children individually, when you take your spouse on a date or when you have one-on-one time with your best friend.
It is a time to ask question about what is going on right now in their life. It’s a time to listen to their challenges, their hopes, their dreams and their stories.
It is a chance to reconnect at a human level with no ulterior motive.
When was the last time you went on a “date night” with your best clients?
Make a list right now of your top 5 clients and reach out to them today. Plan something fun to do or even take them to lunch. Make it personal. Make it memorable. Make it all about them.
I created a little checklist you can use to plan out your date nights. You can download it here.
If you have a great idea for a date night, please share it below! I’ve got a prize for the most creative one…