Client Centric Part V: A Vendor Executive Visit—Measure the Mouth-to-Ears Ratio

As I gazed out the window at the beautiful lake at the Breakers Resort in Denver, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the vendor executive I was talking with used the same approach with her/his client visits as he/she was using with me.

The discussion was supposed to be focused on learning about the vendor’s clients’ concerns and how the vendor could deliver better. It turned out to be a listening experience while the vendor explained how they had nailed down all previous issues and how good they really were.

They ended with what was new and unique about them versus their competition and why customers were clamoring to be their clients. This is not an atypical experience and certainly did not map to the old adage, “Two ears and one mouth. Use them in that ratio.”

For many vendor executives, it is a typical and natural goal on client visits to increase client loyalty to the vendor. Typically, little time is spent on how to make the client successful. That takes lots of listening, and even more, it moves a serious part of the clients’ success to the vendor’s shoulders.

My meeting at the Breakers ended very positively after we discussed the mismatch between the clients’ goals for the vendor’s executive visits versus the vendor’s goals. This vendor executive vowed to change and help their clients be successful by really listening first.

The key test is to see how your vendor starts the conversation. If it begins, “I’m excited to tell you about the new . . . ,” then you know the mouth-to-ears ratio will remain out of whack.

Klas blogs

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