Building a business often means building a team.  But sometimes when we hire people, we then realise our clients only want to work with us, not our team. Eek. Today’s episode we’ll go through five options that you can implement, today, to improve the relationship between your clients and your team, plus a few mindset blocks that can stunt our team growth.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Today’s episode is for leaders of all areas, whether that is in a corporate business or those with a small business and the topic for today is this. “What if my clients don’t want to work with my team”.

[00:00:17] This is a real challenge in business because you will be completely capped if you cannot get other people that your clients want to work with. I’ll talk a little bit further in the episode about the different types of small business structures and when this is important. But if you are looking at building your business where you have other people working with your clients, you need to have a look at why your clients don’t want to work with your team, and what are the things you can do to get out of this stuck position?

[00:00:45] A lot of tough stuff comes up when you start to grow team. If you are a small business owner or a solopreneur, it’s a worry that maybe your clients won’t like to see that you’re growing your team because they just want to work with you, right? Or if you’re a leader in a corporate business, when you were bringing on a team that are less experienced. Clients might only want to work with your business because of you and why would they want to work with anybody else?

[00:01:13] Or maybe your team has not turned out how you’d hoped and their performance hasn’t been as great as you’d had anticipated. And now you’re worried about letting your clients down. Or maybe you’re worried that your clients might like your team so much (because they’re pretty good). That they’ll always ask for them instead. Which can cue all sorts of feelings of inadequacy because you’re not the superstar anymore.

[00:01:40] In all these scenarios you’re left worrying instead of focusing on leveling up your leadership, like you should be. So in today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about a few actions you can take for each of these scenarios. And I’ll let you into a little secret. You don’t have to worry. Growing your team and having your clients want to work with other people in your team instead of you. Is actually a picture of success.

[00:02:08] So let’s get into it.

[00:02:10] If you have listened to Episode Nine, you’ll be familiar with three terms that I like to use. Solo Hero and Agency. If you are a solopreneur where you have your own business, you’re likely to be in the Solo category. The next level up in growth from Solo is called Hero where you are the face of the business, and you’re interacting with the clients, but you have a team behind you that makes everything hum. So today’s episode where the clients just want to work with you and not your team is actually in the third level, the Agency level.

[00:02:47] This is when you’re hiring people to work alongside you, or perhaps they’re running the business and you are completely outside the business. But essentially in the Agency model. Your team are interacting directly with your clients. In the Solo or the Hero model, they are not. The Solo the Hero model your clients are working directly with you.

[00:03:08] So today’s episode are for people that are looking to go from Solo or Hero to the Agency structure for small businesses. And those that are leadership in teams, whether that’s in corporate or other environment, today’s episode counts.

[00:03:24] What steps can you do to help your clients feel comfortable working with your team instead of just wanting to work with you?

[00:03:32] Option One, build a team of experts. Often, when we’re looking at hiring somebody, we think to hire a clone of ourselves, someone that is similar to us in our experience, but just more junior.

[00:03:46] In Option One, I’d like you to think about building a team of experts that are different to your skillset. For example, if you have a recruitment firm think about hiring, for example, a construction specialist, not just a junior version of your experience. And if you’re a copywriter, think about hiring an editor or a technical writer.

[00:04:07] When you have a team of experts, your clients are going to be a lot more open to the idea of working with them and not just working with you.

[00:04:15] The other great thing is it puts you at a competitive advantage to other businesses, and finally a lot of small business owners talk to me about the concern that if they hire somebody, this person is going to take all their IP and start their own firm. Now, although this is something you cannot stop from happening, there are ways you can recruit to make sure you get the right fit and the right person.

[00:04:39] Another thing to consider is if you have someone that’s an expert in different areas, even if they start their own business, it wouldn’t be one in direct competition to yours. So Option One of building a team of experts is excellent for those few reasons. Your clients will be more open to working with another expert that has a different skillset to yours and also it reduces the risk of them starting their own firm in competition to yours.

[00:05:05] Option Two: elevate your team reputation. Now let’s talk first about the small business side. If you have historically been a Hero structure of business (again see Episode Nine, to understand these three different structures of business). If you’ve been in Hero structure of business. Your clients will be used to you being the face of the business. You are the one interacting with all the clients. You might have a team behind the scenes that help get everything humming. But the client only see you. If you’re moving from this Hero structure to an Agency structure and bringing on other team members to interact with your clients and do face-to-face work, then it’s so important that you elevate your team’s reputation.

[00:05:49] What I mean by this is helping your team to be seen as the experts and be seen as people that can do the work for the client. People buy from People. They need to know who they are going to be working with because no doubt, they have a great relationship with you. How can you elevate their relationship with somebody else?

[00:06:11] There’s two things you can do here when helping your clients to get to know your team. Start sharing some information about your team, whether that’s them doing shares themselves on different platforms or on LinkedIn or through email platforms- personal hobbies, travel, a little bit about that background and also their work experience and the type of work that they love to do. Help build that human connection with somebody else in your business. And as I said, particularly if you’ve been the face of the business, this is really important. If you are always the person doing the podcasts, perhaps get them to be an interviewee on the podcast or get them to host a podcast.

[00:06:50] If you’re working in a more corporate business instead of a small business, think about how you can elevate your team’s reputation to your clients on platforms such as LinkedIn, company emails or through social meetings with clients. How can you take someone from your team each time you meet a client and help them build a connection? You’re really thinking about this social proof. If you are someone, a client trusts and you trust the team member, this really helps the client to trust the team member.

[00:07:19] The Third Option. Raise your prices. So this could be raising your charge-out-rate or raising your VIP services if you’re a small business. You are then giving your clients a choice on who they want to work with, but also giving them information about what sort of expertise they get with each service.

[00:07:39] Some people, some clients really value going straight to the top or the expert or the owner of the business. And they’re really happy to pay for it. Some others may prefer to have the options of different pricing.

[00:07:53] Option Four: this one I really recommend everybody should do, and it’s about framing the conversation. This is about letting your clients know. You need to let your clients know that there are some changes happening in the business, but put it in a really good frame. You can frame it up, that you’re changing in the right way. You are changing that your team is growing and how this is a great thing because you have more hands on deck. Overall better support for them access to more experts and your service to them as a client is going to improve.

[00:08:30] Option Five: this is one that people don’t really like to talk about because it’s one we always think about and we dread happening. Option Five is your team isn’t that good. Perhaps you’ve under-hired or you need to have some tough conversations with your team. Talking about expectations or where there may or may not be meeting the mark.

[00:08:53] If this is you, it’s a tough spot to be in, but I encourage you to start having these conversations sooner rather than later. There is a program of mine Solo to CEO, where there is a whole module dedicated to difficult conversations and how you can have the small micro conversations about performance, so you can avoid having the one big, horrible conversation that you dread for days prior. In this Option where your team isn’t that good or not performing how you want to, it could be one of the reasons that a client doesn’t want to work directly with them. You need to be looking at: is their skillset matching what the role. Is it an issue that they don’t know what to do, they don’t know how to do it, they don’t have the skills to do it, or they don’t want to do it. And that is a whole topic in itself.

[00:09:43] So when looking at these Five Options, you might have one other niggling thought. And that is what if your clients like your team better than they, like you?

[00:09:54] And this, although it might seem strange is actually a measure of success. This means you’ve done a great job at finding the perfect fit for your business culture. And if they think your team is fantastic, then you’re doing something right. It’s easy to take this as a small personal hit, because you are no longer the hero.

[00:10:14] But as a leader of a business, you need to elevate your team as the hero. And the people that can really help your clients.

[00:10:22] Another niggling thought that might come up is you could feel that you’re letting your clients down because you’re not doing all the work yourself or doing it personally. But in reality, you are letting yourself down because you are spending time in the weeds doing things that are below your expertise, instead of leading your business and having a team member work with you to make that happen for the client.

[00:10:46] This means you stay stuck. And there’s only so much you can grow in your leadership and in your business, if you are working in the level below then where you need to be.

[00:10:58] So to wrap up, if your client only wanting to work with you, there are Five Options to changes that can help level up your leadership.

[00:11:07] Option One: was build a team of experts.

[00:11:10] Option Two: elevate your team’s reputation.

[00:11:13] Option Three: raise your prices of your charge at rate or your VIP services.

[00:11:20] Option Four: let your clients know and frame up the change in a way that it’s a very positive one.

[00:11:25] And Option Five: if your team is underperforming how to have those conversations in sharing your expectations.

[00:11:34] If today’s topics have really struck a chord with you, I have an upcoming program Solo to CEO for small business owners. And there’s some information on my website, Zenith Journey, or if you’re from the States, you’ll think it is Zenith Z E N I T H Journey. And at the beginning of August, I’m also running a free master class on how to go from, “doer” to “leader”

[00:11:59] so all these topics about going from Solo to Hero to Agency, how to build your business, we’ll all be broached in that masterclass. It is more for the Small Business Owner, then the corporate leader. So head on to the show notes, if that is of interest to you. In next week’s episode, I’ll be talking a lot more about the topic of that masterclass and how you can jump on and reserve a seat.

[00:12:22] Thanks for listening today, and I’ll catch you next week.

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