Client relationships are at the heart of almost all businesses. They form the building blocks of a company’s success and reputation. And just like any relationship, client relationships take time to grow. There are highs and lows as you and your client learn how to work together and get to know each other’s business processes better.
5 Ways to Build Quality Client Relationships
With a new client comes the opportunity to lay a strong foundation for your partnership. And you can’t underestimate the value of keeping existing clients happy. A recent study found that it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. So, whether you’re starting from scratch or nurturing an existing connection, here are some things you can do to ensure these become long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships.
1. Be Their Partner
The best client relationships are built as partnerships. You are an extension of the client’s internal team, and you work together to do what is best for their business. You need to learn how they work and what is most important to them in their relationship with you and their business goals. Be interested in parts of their business that don’t overtly involve you, and don’t be afraid of small talk. Strong client relationships require more than just talking about the next task or project. Small talk helps you find out about their interests, their work history, and their families. These types of conversations build connections and can provide insight into why they do what they do.
It is practically impossible to over-communicate with a client. Let them know where tasks and projects are in the process. Ask questions if you don’t understand. They don’t need to know that you are behind on their project because you are short-staffed. But they need to know that their project timeline has changed and the new estimated date of completion. The sooner you communicate those types of things, the better.
If you have a client, you haven’t heard from in a while, reach out to them and mix up your means of communication. Don’t always email them, and don’t always call them. Consider what their favorite means of communication are when reaching out—plan regular check-ins with them. You want to remain top of mind to them and let them know you care about their business and them as a person.
3. Set Expectations
From the beginning, you want to set clear expectations, and a large part of this goes back to prioritizing communication. Send recaps after meetings. Make sure you include key points and information from both sides of the conversation. Provide them with an outline of clear next steps with timelines and deliverables for both you and your client. Then meet those expectations and if you can surpass them!
4. Build Trust
You won’t go into a client relationship having their complete trust. You have to earn it as you build your partnership. First and foremost, be you, not who you think they want you to be. If someone chose you to manage a client relationship, they saw something in you that they see as an asset to the client relationship.
Do what you say you will do and when you make a mistake, own it! It is far better to admit you made a mistake and come to the client with some solutions than it is to try to hide it or, worse, blame it on someone else. You can build a lot of trust by owning a mistake. You run a more significant risk of causing damage to the client relationship if you take a different approach and shirk responsibility.
Your client hired you as an expert in your field. Own that role and use your experience to guide them. Offer ideas, strategies, and ways to help them grow their business. If they need advice on something you don’t know about, ask for someone on your team to jump in, or if it is not something your company does, try to find them a resource. You want to show you are there to make their lives easier any way you can.
5. Make the Relationship Last
You’ll rarely form strong client relationships without a few bumps along the way. When something does not go as planned, do some quick decision-making for damage control. Is it something you need to address with the client? Or is it an internal problem that you can work on with your team to ensure the same bump doesn’t pop up again? Setbacks are part of the process and can build genuine connections by communicating, being trustworthy, and finding ways to move forward.
Revisit your client’s short-term and long-term goals regularly. Keeping tabs on your client’s objectives will help you gauge whether you are meeting their immediate goals while giving you time to plan for long-term goals – which may also mean an upsell for your company!
The more you demonstrate your ability to walk alongside them as an asset to their business, the longer that relationship will last!
Get In Touch
At TargetMarket, we know the value of strong client relationships. We practice what we preach and we’re passionate about unearthing our clients’ goals and motivations so that we can create a comprehensive digital marketing plan with services that will serve them best. If you’re looking for an agency partner to build a meaningful relationship with, get in touch with our team. We can’t wait to get started.