Building a strong relationship with your clients is an essential part of business. Here are some ways you can effectively make it happen:
1. Put yourself in your client’s shoes. How would you like to be treated if you were in his place? Give the level of service and attention you would expect to every client regardless of their size of business.
2. Get to know your client’s area of business. Acquiring knowledge about your client’s area of business enables you to have a meaningful dialogue with him. You don’t have to become an expert in the industry but it will help you speak the same language.
3. Go the extra mile. Always deliver a little more than you are expected to. Offer clients customised solutions. Clients remember the times you went the extra mile. It will pay off in the long run, if not with additional business but certainly in goodwill.
4. Treat every client as your most important one. Don’t let the size of his business or the quantum of your fees get in the way of your behaviour towards your client. Provide all clients with your best service. Make them feel special, as if you put them first. Today’s small organisations could be tomorrow’s big companies. If you’ve helped fuel your client’s growth, you are sure to be rewarded.
5. Remember that clients are people, not numbers. Remember the name and also something about the client as a person…a fact that will prompt you to recall how you can meet his specific needs. Share an experience about the situation the client is facing and how it was handled.
6. Be aware of your body language. People can tell just by looking at you and from your behaviour, how you feel about being around them. Are you getting impatient, constantly looking at your watch? This sends out signals and can undo all the goodwill you have patiently built up. Smile. Make eye contact. Make sure your client takes back a good impression of having interacted with you.
7. Gain your client’s trust. Honesty is important in your relationship with your client. Don’t gloss over facts or stretch the truth about what you can deliver. Your client will appreciate this and the foundation for a lasting relationship can be built. You’ll be surprised how often the client himself will lend a hand to help you through a tough situation.
8. Keep things light-hearted. If you are under any tension or stress, don’t let it show. Nothing is more upsetting to a client than getting a rude or curt response to his query. It helps to keep things light-hearted. Do your best to de-fuse the situation and make the client feel comfortable.
9. Always summarise the next steps. This is often neglected but there can be a mis-comprehension about who is going to do what next. Every meeting should be summarised preferably in writing so it becomes absolutely clear what the next action points are. Dates should be set down for all follow-up action.
10. Be patient. Building a relationship takes time. Do great work for your client consistently. Keep your word. Get to know him on a personal level and over time strong bonds will be built.
Building a strong relationship with your client takes time, effort and tact. Make it a priority and you will find it pays.