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Top-Shelf Tip No. 132:

"Here is a simple but powerful rule: Always give people more than what they expect to get."

Nelson Boswell

Six Tips For Working With High-Profile Clients

There are clients—and then there are high-profile clients. These VIPs often have very different expectations from other groups. When you have a chance to work with a high-profile client, preparation is paramount.

James Harris, co-founder of Bond Street Partners and star of the hit television series Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, says working with high-profile clients presents many exciting opportunities. The trick is to take time to understand their needs. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Harris' tips for succeeding with customers who are considered VIPs in their companies, industries and communities.

1. Always use discretion. Harris says that high-profile clients appreciate discretion and confidentiality. No one wants their personal information given to perfect strangers. High-profile clients are no different except every move they make is under a magnifying glass. Never broadcast your client's next step. Not only is it an invasion of his or her privacy, but it's also a security issue. Harris recommends using your discretion as a selling point. By understanding the importance of your client's privacy, you will build a reputation for being dependable and trustworthy.

2. Be respectful of their time. When working with a high-profile client, Harris says it's best to keep your communications succinct and only reach out when necessary. Try to schedule calls and meetings in the morning as early as possible. As the day progresses, it only becomes more difficult for your client to remove themselves from their business to speak with you.

3. Stay flexible. High-profile clients typically don't work a traditional schedule. They expect you to be available 24/7 as they travel and may be in another time zone when they call you. Make sure you take their calls and respond to them on their schedule—not your own.

4. Provide top-tier service. High-profile clients rely on you to ensure that all their needs are met. They are typically involved in large transactions and expect your service to be in line with what they are spending. Harris says it's important to take yourself out of the equation. When dealing with high-profile clients, it is all about their needs. Put your ego aside and put them first. Your clients may not necessarily need the things they are asking you for, however, you must listen to what they want and deliver. If you don't, they will think you are wasting their time.

5. Anticipate their needs. Actively listen to your client and pay attention to what they are requesting. Make note of little nuances like their daughter's recital or corporate functions. By taking note of relevant information and applying it to the clients' needs, they will appreciate that you were listening, and you will service their needs accordingly. Harris also suggests noting any allergies, dislikes and uncomfortable moments. If your client mentions that she is allergic to shellfish, you don't want to make the mistake of making lunch reservations at a seafood restaurant.

6. Deliver value. Harris says that just because high-profile clients are successful doesn't mean they don't appreciate the value of a dollar. They want the best investment possible, which means they want a service that fits their needs and bottom line. Harris notes that high-profile clients aren't difficult—they're just busy and need a partner who understands how they do business.

Landing a high-profile client can be an exciting opportunity. Use the tips above to manage expectations and focus on their needs. When you do, you lay the groundwork for a long and fruitful partnership.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: James Harris is co-founder of Bond Street Partners, director of The Agency Real Estate and co-founder of thepls.com. Harris is also the star of the hit television series Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles, which airs on Bravo.

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