“How are we doing?” “What are you getting out of our work together?” Everyone in a customer-service industry should be asking these questions on a regular basis. A sincere discussion about your value — and any areas where you might improve — can help you keep your current clients as well as obtain referrals to new ones.

If the feedback you receive from clients is positive, it can help you accomplish four things:

  1. Talk about referrals. If I’m very happy with your services, I am obviously more likely to want to introduce you to someone in my circle of friends, one of my family members or a business associate.
  2. Remind your client just how much value you bring to the table, making it less likely that he will be enticed by someone else’s offer.
  3. Understand what your clients think you provide for them, which is sometimes different than what you think you provide for them.
  4. Obtain testimonials you can use later to attract more clients.

Thomas Leonard, who helped establish business coaching as a profession, convinced one of his students, an accountant, to ask his clients about his value to them. To the accountant’s surprise, a client told him he was a great “marriage counselor” because his ability to explain financial concepts to the client’s wife meant they no longer argued about money. From then on, when the accountant would meet a new prospect, he’d proclaim, “My clients tell me I’m the greatest marriage counselor they ever had!”

Ask your 10 best clients what value you bring to them (and while you’re at it ask them for permission to use what they tell you in your testimonials). Even if you regulatory environment makes using testimonials difficult, you can always tell people what your clients are say about you. Your clients, for their part, will be pleased that you value their opinions and care enough to ask.

If the feedback you get from a client isn’t glowing — or perhaps even if it is — ask what you can do now or in the future to improve the buying experience for her. And listen carefully to the answer.

Everyone has room to improve, even the best of us. Set yourself apart from the competition by taking steps to find out how you can make the buying experience a happier one for your clients.

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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to www.sandyschussel.com.