Communication Coach: Win back your time by mastering the art of convenient inconveniences

Photo: iStock.com/marchmeena29
Photo: iStock.com/marchmeena29

After a decade in corporate selling, I was confident I could make it as an entrepreneur. Selling new work proved to be one of my strengths because I learned to show up prepared and follow up with clients.

However, because I was new to the industry and working with consumers instead of corporate buyers, I learned most things the hard way. I quickly realized I needed help managing equipment, production and collections, among other things.

Before long, I was running in circles to keep my clients happy. I accepted this because our core business promise was delivering better service than our competitors. Fortunately, I quickly made friends in the industry and learned from them. This is how I discovered the value of making key steps in our buying process inconvenient on purpose.

The problem with making everything convenient for clients is you lose control. This often leads to well-intentioned work that compromises the service the client expects and that your company typically provides.

Many problems arise from this but they amount to the same thing. You and your team spend more time following when you should be leading. This is especially critical during peak seasonal periods when optimal efficiency is vital.

Here are a few ways I applied the concept of convenient inconveniences, and why. If you can adapt one or two or create your own, you’ll win back your time and personal well-being. If you can do the same for your staff, they will enjoy the same benefits and your company will become more profitable.

  1. Hold all meetings at your office – This is the tactic we started with to test the principle. It expects clients to show up prepared to achieve productive outcomes. It worked amazingly well.
  2. No weekend or evening meetings – Everyone’s energy after a full day is low. This isn’t fair to any client who expects your best. Reasonable clients will respect this and show up during normal working hours.
  3. Change orders for everything (including negotiated freebies) – Signing a change order is a standard practice. Signing one for gratis changes is a little awkward. That inconvenience makes it memorable, thereby tending to stop further change requests.

Service-minded people pride themselves on being easy to work with, and that can overextend their capabilities. Steve Jobs said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. To be truly simple, you must get rid of the parts that are not essential.”

You know your business better than anyone. Master the art of convenient inconveniences to minimize non-essential activities and win back your time.

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at jeff@truenature.com. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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