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How to have your client join the team and build the business!

I have had this very special client now for 13 years, and I won’t say that the beginning of our relationship was anything but easy.

The first time I met the client was on my very first visit to Bangalore, some 9 years ago, to attend a conference where I had been invited to speak about French immigration; the conference was very focused on US immigration, therefore, I knew that my few words would have little impact on the attendees and to add I was the last session of the day! Anyway my special client who was on a “rowdy” delegate table, (boys will be boys) by the time I arrived on the stage they were definitely bored … so I had to draw their attention, otherwise I was going to be in for a tough time, thankfully a very kind knowledgeable speaker said to me “throw them some questions and make them laugh” that worked!

I had also decided, as I was in Bangalore, to visit him in his lovely offices based in “Global village” (what a great address for a company that has offices in 40 destinations across the globe!), and thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce him to an immigration partner I was working with in the US… the meeting was a disaster, they were both not on the same page at all.

Over the following years, despite this disastrous first meeting, we got to know each other well, I always enjoyed visiting the client and also had the pleasure of welcoming him to Paris. He knew that I was always available when ever needed, he only called me once over the following years about a level of service which was sorted out within 24 hours and I think he appreciated our “hands on team” approach.

He then moved on (we all have career paths that lead to changing employers) but we still remained in touch.

One day out of the blue he called me and said he was a little bored looking for a new challenge, my reply was that wouldn’t in my opinion be difficult seeing his excellent years of experience in immigration and managing large teams across the globe – his opinion was that this would be a challenge. As a joke I said “so I suppose this is the moment I am meant to offer you a job” and he says “Yes that’s why I’m calling you”!! Well that is very flattering but after a nervous laugh I said I would need to think about the possibilities and maybe there were other excellent large well known firms who would love to have him join them – all the time I am thinking in my mind how am I going to say sorry you are not in the league of those I can hire! Thank goodness I have a wonderful “home business support team” with my husband and sons who immediately said “hey, think this over, you don’t know what he wants and maybe this would allow you to open an office in India”. They were so right, after a couple of calls during the next few weeks we immediately found how easy it was going to be for us both to work together – we’ve never looked back and thank you Rohan for all you have brought to the firm and the fun times we have together building the business, without you we would not have opened an office in India and we would not be providing Global services!

So the moral of the story is… maybe think about hiring your client!