One of the ways I keep getting new ideas for my business is to learn from people outside of the legal nurse consulting industry. What did I learn from how professional speakers build strong relationships with meeting planners?
The tips really apply to anyone in a service industry who wants to develop stronger relationships with people who can hire them. Here are the tips applied to being a legal nurse consultant:
1. Be flexible and adaptable. You might have one way of developing a report, but your client expresses a desire that you present it in a different way. Your client, for example, may want you to footnote where you found information in the medical record. Listen to what your client wants, and if at all possible, fulfill the request. That leads to strong relationships.
2. Be on time – to a deposition, to court, to a meeting with your client, to other business events.
No one ever gets criticized by being early or on time, but being late is really difficult.
Yes, things happen, accidents happen, but give yourself the extra window of time so you can keep your obligations.
3. Ask your client what you can do to help. Volunteer for extra tasks, even if you won’t get paid for them. Be particular attentive to opportunities to help your client when he or she is stressed.
4. Don’t point fingers at the attorney’s staff when they make a mistake. I know we lost a client because we told him in detail how his inhouse LNC’s misdirection led to our difficulty fulfilling what he needed. It was messy and we could have been far more diplomatic. It weakened and destroyed what was once a strong relationship.
5. Don’t dismiss or prejudge anyone. Nurses are usually very good about collecting assessment data before forming conclusions. Don’t assume when you are exhibiting that a female standing in front of you is a paralegal rather than an attorney. Don’t assume a young associate is without power. He could be the partner’s nephew. Don’t assume a plaintiff is misrepresenting her injuries. Be friendly and nice to every one you meet at an attorney’s office.
6. Be accurate in your reports. Get it right the first time. I proofread a report written by an expert witness who spelled the treating physician’s name 3 different ways. It made me wonder what other details she got wrong.
7. Dress appropriately for the occasion. When you visit a client in her office, wear clothing that is at the one step above your client’s. It might be Casual Friday for the staff, but that does not apply to you.
Modified from a presentation by Joanne Dennison on getting along with meeting planners, presented at the National Speakers Association Conference in Washington DC.
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