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Setting Proper Expectations

Whenever you are working with customers it is always important to set clear and proper expectations for them. It does not matter what you are doing. Whether you are serving food, washing cars, or digital marketing, your customers want to have set expectations so they can plan accordingly. Planning is key to an important day. If you have a day full of meetings then letting your customers know if they email you that you will respond back within one business day is a great way of setting their expectations so they are not waiting all day for a response. It is great to have these clear lines open and even more important to set the pace with your customers. Customers keep the business going along with your hard work.

I never understood the value of setting expectations until around three or four years ago. It never struck me how important it is to customers to give this line of clear communication, but now I see the real value. You have less of a chance of dropping the ball if you tell someone that you are going to have something taken care of for them at a certain time. This has changed my way of dealing with customers by leaps and bounds. It not only makes you less likely to drop the ball, but it makes you sharper with meeting deadlines and really sets you apart from other businesses that may not know how to set proper expectations or have an issue doing it.

man looking at a clock in black and whiteWe here at That Company take setting proper expectations very seriously with our partners and our clients, and we always strive to meet them in a timely manner. This is how we are able to not only manage over three hundred partners but also their clients. In our first initial meeting with a potential partner, we are always sure to set the expectation that the meeting is designed to see if we are going to be a good fit. After we make the call that the prospective client is a good fit, we send them a white label agreement and we set the following meeting to go over it. Setting that second meeting is also setting the expectation that we are going to go over that agreement together, and that we will be answering any questions that the prospective client may have. When a prospective client is provided with these expectations it will allow them to plan how to interact in the meeting as well as what to expect in that meeting. The other important part about setting a clear expectation is to set what we like to call a CNS or a clear next step. A clear next step gives you and the prospective client the right sense of direction that the relationship is going, they know what to expect and it will allow you to be prepared.  In this article, I will go over what a proper expectation looks like as well as a clear next step. This will help you with your partners, clients, and fellow co-workers.

Why Setting Expectations Is Important:

People at a restaurant disappointed with the serviceYou take your friend up on a recent restaurant recommendation, and you decide to take your spouse to try it out. You get there, and the place is super busy which is common for a good restaurant. However, once you are seated you wait 15 minutes for your server to come collect your drink order. Once they have taken your drink order, it takes them another 15 minutes to come and take your dinner order. With the restaurant being busy your expectations may be already set for the slower service, but what you don’t expect is for the server to be rude, your steak not cooked the way you like it, or paying a lot of money for a dinner you did not like. What this has done is not meet the expectations that your friend had set for you when they recommended the restaurant, and you are left with a bitter taste in your mouth from the experience. The same ideology applies to your company.

If you do not set the proper expectations with your client or partner, then you run the risk of leaving a bad taste in their mouth about your company as they will feel they cannot trust your word or the company’s. You do not want to be the company that has negative reviews on your services or your team over something as simple as not getting a report out on time or not making a phone call. There have been many times I have met with prospective clients that are unhappy with their current providers because they simply did not get a report on time from them or their current providers did not call them back when they said they would. It may seem small, but to a partner or a client, it is a big deal. They expect you to follow through with your commitment. They want their time respected and valued, hence why setting the expectation and following through is so important. You do not want to be the bad restaurant that doesn’t live up to what your friend suggested.

woman on phone setting proper expectationsHaving said all of that, I hope this article will shed some light on the fact that expectations are very important to you, your partners, and your clients. Once you have established a good method of setting good expectations you will grow your company, your partners, and your clients to be more successful. You will also strengthen your relationships with them for the long haul. Having a good relationship leads to more business which is the main goal for everyone, am I right? When you are building a relationship with a partner or client, they will feel a stronger sense of belonging, valuing your time and opinions more. That all starts with expectations and making sure you meet them.


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Meeting expectations is a process that you will have to get used to as well as setting a clear next step. You may say, “Well, that’s not hard to do if you are on top of your A-game at all times.” This might be true, but even if you are on top of your A-game things can still slip through the cracks. We are all human, and we make mistakes just like anyone else. If you implement setting a clear next step and setting expectations in your sales pitch or with your clients after every call, you run less of a chance of making mistakes. Your clients and partners will appreciate it and so will your company. I hope this article has helped you understand more about how setting clear expectations will help you and your business in the long run, and that you have taken away some good key points that will make you stronger within your business. It may not be easy at first, but you will learn to master it and become better for everyone you work with.

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