Your relationship with a client is no different than any other relationship you may have, whether it’s that with your spouse, friend, doctor, or a mailman. They can vary in importance to you, but they all require many of the same actions. By nature, humans are social creatures who need friendship and positive interactions.
A successful relationship with your client is a surefire way to be in business now and long into the future. To build and maintain these relationships, you’ve got to take steps to not only deliver excellent customer service but deliver it in such a way that you can distinguish yourself from your competitors.
As a key to any good relationship, communication is an essential way to build customer relationships. Promoting your business and listening to your customers is equally important.
Rather than just telling customers about your business, have conversations with them. Find out what your customers need, then show them that you have a solution to their problem.
2. Get to Know How They Work
Know what you’re walking into so you can present yourself and your work effectively.
When you first make contact with a client, do your research on the company, team, past projects (if applicable), and the individual client contacts. This way, you go into your initial conversations with confidence, enthusiasm, and easy material to use to create a great first impression.
Part of getting to know your client is also about learning to speak their language. That may mean picking up industry-specific jargon if necessary or reading the room to understand the appropriate tone and level of professionalism.
3. Honesty is the best policy
Being open and honest with a client means addressing the unknowns, the possible failures, talking through their challenges and pains and getting down to their root needs. Be honest about your capabilities, what you’re the expert on, what you’re not an expert at, and how long it will take to get things done.
4. Share Knowledge
If your client doesn’t understand your area of expertise, they may feel ignorant about the intricacies of the process and therefore disconnected from the development of the project. This is your opportunity to share information that will help the client understand what you do, which will build trust and confidence in the process. Explaining to your client what you did, why you did it, and how you came to your decision will help them feel knowledgeable and in-the-loop.
5. Get in their face
Communication consists of three parts – Words, Tone, and Visuals. The most impactful part of communication is not the words, tone, or how the words sound when spoken. It’s the visual, hence why it’s called body language. The body has its own language, accounting for 55 percent of communication. If the only way you communicate is via email, you’re leaving 93 percent of your message to the recipient's personal interpretation. This can lead to misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and more. You need to communicate more than via an email or a phone call. To build a meaningful relationship with a client it’s important to connect on more than a remote channel. With digital options such as Skype, FaceTime, or GoToMeeting distance is no longer a reason for not meeting in person.
6. Listen, listen, and then listen more
No matter what type of product or service you offer, you can’t help your client unless you listen to their needs. If you can understand your clients’ needs and then find the way of your solution that fits those needs, you’ll go a lot further with them as your clients.
No system or methodology will guarantee 100% client retention. However, a good relationship will extend the tenure of a client and make the partnership more productive and enjoyable.