Lesson 5: Know Your Client

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One of my numerous mottos is: “Don’t let a good lesson go to waste”. Especially, when there are four lessons in one go 😉

So here it goes – a very ordinary situation that has a few lessons not just for Team Splento, but also for a wider audience.

We got an email from an applicant last week, enquiring about positions we may have for her. She had an impressive track record, but no cover letter and a very generic email addressed to “Dear Sir/Madam” spoiled the overall impression.

I would normally disregard emails like this one, but from her CV I could tell that this applicant was an ambitious hard worker with a lot of potential and my other motto is: “When you see someone ambitious, help them reach their potential”.

So I called her back and explained how she could have improved her outreach and I gave her a second chance.

Unfortunately, even after the second try, she wasn’t quite right for us, but here are four simple lessons from our brief exchange that I would like to share with you.

Hopefully, these lessons will help you improve your chances of finding a dream job (and for Team Splento – help you solve more problems for our clients).

(1) Problem first, Solution later.

First figure out a problem that your prospect needs to solve, then offer a solution. No one wants your product, they need a solution that will solve their problem.

No one needs more employees, managers need great people who will help them solve specific problems they are facing.

During our call, the applicant had an ideal chance to question me about what the job opening was, which were the main pain points we were looking to solve and what results were expected from a successful candidate. It never happened.

She diligently noted my comments and flawlessly executed on what was asked of her, but she never asked what problem exactly needed to be solved.

(2) Over-communicate.

When someone (a potential employer or a client) comes back to you with a question/comment/clarification, which requires you to do a bit of homework that may take a few days to complete, acknowledge what has been agreed on the call or receipt of the email immediately and get back with a full reply whenever you are ready. If the preparatory work takes weeks – send regular weekly/bi-weekly updates.

If you just disappear into the ether for a few days or weeks, your client/potential employer will think you are not interested and may find someone else in the meantime.

(3) Do your homework.

Read your target’s blog and social media – see what’s on their agenda. You may or may not find anything useful, but if there are golden nuggets of information that can help you understand your prospect better and you’ve missed them – your loss.

Do as much due diligence on the prospective employer/client as possible, before offering your solution to the problem you have already identified they have.

(4) Results, not work.

Great organisations think in terms of “results achieved”, not “work done”.

A-players and A-Teams don’t care what work you did, they care about results you achieved for your previous employer.

Thus top performers’ CV should be littered with results you’ve achieved for your employers, not work you’ve done for them. And if your prospective employer insists on your showing the work you’ve done, instead of results you’ve achieved – they are not an A-Team and why would you want to work in a mediocre organisation.

The same with clients. They don’t care what exactly our professional photographer or videographer will be doing at any particular job. They care about results these professionals can deliver for them, be it a visual story of their event unfolding, amazing photos of their delicious looking food, great photos of their property that would make it look spacious and attractive.

Always think: results, not work.

With best wishes,

Roman