Do you bend over backwards to please your clients?

This is not necessarily good business practice. Not if it causes you to mismanage your time.

Here’s a familiar scenario:

A client asks for a meeting. Your default response is, “When would you like to see me?” Unfortunately the time that’s proposed doesn’t really suit you – it was meant to be your day for working on your quotes and project plans. But hey, the client comes first, so you agree.

On the day of the appointment you find yourself sitting in traffic to get to your client, all the while feeling resentful because you should actually be doing something else. By the time the meeting takes place, you’re irritable and tense. But you feel that you don’t have any choice – this is what client service is all about, isn’t it?

Many entrepreneurs complain that they don’t get even one uninterrupted day a week in the office – they’re always on the road, going to meetings, or sitting in coffee shops, passing the time between meetings.

But what if you blocked off time in your default diary for meetings and made it a rule to see your clients only during those times? What if you were to call the shots in setting meeting times? What if your default response were, “I am free on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon from 2pm onwards – which of those times will work for you?”

Would your clients object? I think not. In fact, clients will respect your professional control of the situation. A well organised service provider who has fixed time slots available instils far more confidence than a compliant one who will drop everything to please the client. Bend too far backwards and you will come across as needy or, even worse, desperate. And it’s pretty hard to stand straight again after such a deep backbend.

Your time is valuable, and how you manage it is very important for the performance of your business. When you take back control of your diary and don’t allow your clients to control your time, you will be much more productive. Even better, when you do spend time with your clients, you’ll feel positive and energised – because you’ll be doing it on your own terms.

DAILY RULE: What have I learned today and how am I going to apply this in my life and in my business?