Clients in the Cold or Cold Clients
Confidently consult for clients regardless of the cold.
Consulting for clients in cold climates adds a level of complexity to the wardrobe; and confidently remaining composed when communicating with cold clients is also a challenge. Knowing how to dress and act regardless of the client temperature is critical.
To ensure you are appropriate and warm there’s a few key pieces to invest in:
- Dress Gloves
- Winter Dress Coat
- Dress Boots
Having a great pair of dress gloves, coat and boots is a necessity when traveling to colder climates. While you won’t typically need to spend a lot of time outside (hopefully you’ll just be going from hotel to car to client site and back) you still want to keep your skin from being overexposed to the elements, and your feet from slipping or freezing. Plus looking like you are dressed for the climate is also important. Part of being well dressed is being aware of the weather. So choose key basics in classic colors that will work well with all your work outfits.
While dressing for a cold climate is crucial – learning how to deal with cold clients is foundational to being a competent consultant. From client prospects who may have gone cold to clients who have a chilly demeanor knowing how to communicate effectively will serve your consulting skills well.
When I’m working to follow up on cold client prospects – the key thing I keep in mind is: am I offering services that meet their needs? If they aren’t being responsive it’s likely that their needs have changed in some way, so instead of ever pushing a specific engagement or being too overt with follow-up, instead I work to just make sure my client prospects know that I can help regardless of what their needs are – whether that be through my own capabilities, or through networking and connecting them with other vendors, people or opportunities that meet their current needs. My goal is always to be a trusted partner and advisor to my clients, not to sell services. Closing client contracts will come if you put the focus on serving client needs – this approach will take longer, but it is a far better way to collaborate with your clients.
If you’ve encountered a client counterpart that happens to have a colder candor that you aren’t used to corresponding with – take a similar approach; work to put yourself into their shoes, to see the work that you are doing from their perspective. Once you take a look at how they may be perceiving you, the company’s potential challenges, and the work that is on their plate – it makes it significantly easier to relate to them. Understanding that their communication style isn’t something that you can control, all you can control is how you interact – remain positive, helpful and considerate. While you may never get them to warm to you, you still will have done your best to clearly communicate – don’t take their cold shoulder personally.
To make sure I’m well outfitted with the armor necessary to fend off climate and client cold I chose a black classic work dress and paired it with a black shorter pea coat, dress boots and dress gloves. I found this dress at the end of last year when I encountered the best resale shop I’ve ever found – NameDroppers. I knew as soon as I put it on, it would be a fabulous addition to my closet. I like how it looks appropriate on it’s own for a formal but not suited look. I found the jacket also on resale (and also by the same designer) but in 2009ish. It was the first piece I ever bought by the designer – and it’s been so many places with me – I love how the large tie belt pulls it together to make a full look, and the big collar gives it a luxe feel. While in warmer weather it would be easy to wear heels – for the snow I elected to wear dress boots.
Don’t let the cold chill your consulting capabilities.
All my best,