Generally speaking, when scouring the deepest confines of Crunchbase, Business Insider, Linkedin, Facebook, or Twitter for some customer-centric content, the topics are pretty much the same—how to land them, and how to keep them coming back for more, time and time again.
Today’s topic of conversation will take things a bit farther—strengthening client relationships. Truth be told, whether during an initial consultation or months into a formal contract, making sure your relationship is as strong and healthy as possible is what will determine long-term success. Now more than ever it’s just as important to retain, grow and strengthen the relationships you fought so hard to get in the first place as it is to make that initial sale. The following outlines three sure-fire ways to make this happen:
1) Personalize Your Relationship
Whether you believe it or not, within your field of choice, there are a number of industry experts, most of whom don’t work for you. Though they certainly have the ability to impress clients, consistently providing them with the results to prove it, many of them lack the ability to personalize their relationship. In short, it’s business or bust—nothing else matters.
For you to take things a step further, making an emotional connection in the process, make a conscious effort to get to your most key client contacts (not everyone will require the same kind of attention) on a deeper, more personal level.
Yes, your in-person time should be goal-driven and focused on the task at hand, but informal meetings, luncheons and even social networking allow for you to personalize your relationship. Last thing—you’re an expert, but you don’t know everything. As such, listen to your clients, paying close attention for any hidden problems you might be able to solve.
2) Inclusivity Trounces Isolation
Sounds fancy, doesn’t it? From what I’ve experienced, this point branches off into two separate sectors. The first has to do with servicing your client. No matter how good of an impression you hope to make, you can’t take care of everything by yourself. You’ll need to include a hand-picked team of diversified individuals to help out.
Second, in addition to not isolating the rest of your team, don’t isolate the client from your work, either. Once again, you know what you’re doing, but you’ll need to include people from your client’s side of the fence to help build bonds of trust. This can be as simple as maintaining open channels of communication, but it can’t be neglected.
3) Understand Internal Dynamics
No, you shouldn’t cut out all interaction with those lower on your client’s totem pole. Here, what’s most meaningful is that you understand the internal dynamic of relationships within your client’s own space.
From there, you can properly prioritize where energy should be focused. Your resources are extremely important, so failing to do this could prove costly to you and your staff.
I very much get the importance of pitching clients and landing new, exciting work, but the thread of commonality running through both of the aforementioned is a solid client relationship. As harsh as it might sound, without it, failure is eminent.
Clearly, there are more than only three ways to strengthen client relationships. The three I’ve included have worked for me over the years, but I’d like to know what’s worked for you. That way, we can all improve together. In the comments section below, let me know what you do to solidify client relationships. As always, I can’t wait to see what you’ve got for me!
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