You’ve probably seen or heard of the television show Dirty Jobs.  In case you’re unfamiliar with it, the premise of the show was that the host, Mike Rowe, would work a so-called “dirty” or unusual job – such as that of, say, a shark-repellent tester – for a day.

The show was wildly popular, and a staple on the Discovery Channel for 7 years; you can still catch it in reruns today. Dirty Jobs provided an interesting insight into some of the jobs that Americans do on a daily basis – and it could help you strengthen your business by developing deeper ties with your clients (you won’t even have to swim in shark-infested waters to do it!).

All you need to do is offer to work a day with your client, doing what he or she does on a daily basis. The benefits of spending time working with your client in his or her business are numerous.  First of all, your customer gets an extra employee for free, and who wouldn’t love that?  It also makes you and your business indispensable to your client by strengthening your bond. You will have a distinct advantage over your competitors now that you’ve positioned yourself on the inside of your client’s business – and left the competition on the outside looking in.

You will learn more about your client’s business than any lunch meeting you might have with them because you have the opportunity to talk with them about anything – from business challenges and triumphs to personal anecdotes and advice. Try to learn as much as you can about your client on a personal level. In fact, you’ll probably find that you’ll talk more personal than business, which is fine! It will lead to much shorter and smoother negotiations, as well as a more satisfying outcome for both you and your client, and give you a lot to talk about during future meetings. Additionally, this information and experience will help you understand how to best meet your client’s needs.  Your client, and even his or her employees, will no longer see you as an outsider, but as a person with similar interests as their own.

This isn’t just a theory of mine, either – I’ve done it myself, and I can assure you that it accomplishes many things for you and your business that the usual client relationship can’t touch! So what “dirty job” did I do recently when working with a client? I helped him and five of his employees plant several 30-foot trees for one of his customers. Even though his employees laughed because I was wearing a suit while installing the trees, my client appreciated my help, and the experience gave me invaluable insight into my client’s work.

Contributed by Jeff Vice.