An old saying in business ‘everyone is replaceable‘
I agree… essentially anyone CAN be replaced within a business. But there are some key elements that will make your clients feel as though you are irreplaceable.
One of my goals in working with new clients is to establish these elements within the first 90 days of our work together. Most terminating decision will be made early into the relationship, even if the execution of that decision doesn’t happen for months later (execution of letting someone go has more to do with timing, replacing and convenience for the client.) So the challenge is to BE irreplaceable as a Virtual Support Professional.
Many might think this means not sharing the ‘how to’s’ of what you do, that way it will be difficult for them to replace you, to have someone have to start from scratch in figuring out processes and such. Let me tell you, this mindset would get you released immediately from any team I am leading. So trust me when I say, this is not one of the key elements in becoming irreplaceable. Instead, this shows the client that you are essentially insecure in your role and not a team player. Folks with this way of thinking, will always be replaceable. Usually by someone who understands and implements the keys I am about to share 😉
Key #1 – ALWAYS be a TEAM PLAYER
When your client feels you have their best interest and the interest of the business at the top of your priorities you will make a huge impact in them wanting to keep you around. Every business owner is on the hunt for someone they feel is going to be as concerned with the success or failure of the business as they are. Someone that will be willing to go the extra mile if that mile brings in a great return everyone can benefit from. Someone that cares enough to keep an eye on the details AND the big picture, strong enough to call crap, crap and willing to take a stand for the success of the vision. This is being a team player. If you are on a baseball team, although you have a specific position to master and play, you still stay plugged into the rules of the game, the success of each player, and you win together or loose together. When you are working with your clients they need to feel you are in it with them!
Key #2 – BE a PROBLEM SOLVER
Your clients are in decision overload! Not only are they making all the decisions for their business (often with little experience or surety) they are (if they are coaches) making decisions all day long for their clients or with their clients. Exhausting, is the only word I can think of when I think of the many decisions our business owners are responsible for each day. So when something happens in the ‘admin, tech, implementation side of things’ you better believe they are relying on you to support them by being a problem solver. If you come to me with a problem and don’t have a solid solution (and preferably a couple of solutions) for me to decide from, you likely will not remain on our team long. If the task is your responsibility and I still have to make all the decisions around it then you become very replaceable on my team. But give me someone who is thinking ahead, asking the questions I haven’t even thought to ask yet, someone that is bringing solutions to the table and all I have to do is choose which solution best fits the initiative… trust me that person will be irreplaceable to our team!
Key #3 – EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
Expectations are a funny thing. Each person can have a different level of expectations for the very same task. The deciding factor is usually based on experience level, previous execution of the task, what has been communicated, etc… so it can get tricky to implement this key. But if you can find the right formula for figuring out exactly what your clients expectation is in a specific task and then begin to build a culture of your work around EXCEEDING the expectation I promise you no one will ever let you leave their business. This is such a rare quality in our fast paced, put our fires, trying to stay ahead of the curve industry… but if you can master it. If you can be purposeful to go even one step beyond what the expectation is… wow oh wow the effect that will make on your client and team.
As I mentioned earlier… in reality everyone can be replaced but that doesn’t mean you can’t set out to make yourself irreplaceable on the teams you are on and for the clients you serve. Be purposeful in your relationships and let your clients know you mean business with their business. They will trust you, respect you and KEEP YOU!
>> Want to learn a few more of my favorite ways to ensure that we are taking care of our *best* clients? Check this article out <<