So much time and effort is put into acquiring clients, yet very few businesses spend the same energy nurturing existing relationships. This is unfortunate, since a current customer is much more profitable than a new one. The key to business success is winning and keeping customers. The key to winning and keeping customers has always been building good relationships. .
Saying relationships are the heart of business success and actually prioritizing relationships are two totally different things. The latter takes a lot of hard work over a lengthy period of time, but there’s no better time to start than now.
Here are seven client relationship management strategies to consider.
1. Respect the Client’s Time
Time is the most precious and finite resource you and your clients have. If you want to build healthier relationships, you have to respect their time. Don’t just tell a client to drop by if they want to meet with you. Open yourself up to clients and allow them to schedule appointments with you. Small talk is definitely part of building relationships, but recognize when it’s time to talk business. Don’t waste a client’s time. Get straight to business and you’ll be seen as respectful and self-aware.
This might seem like a really small thing, but it sets the tone for the rest of the relationship. When you extend respect, you’re telling your client that they matter to you.
2. Get to meet your clients face to face
When things go wrong and the client knows, make a call. Email does not always translate circumstances well and most clients usually place more value on a phone call. While a phone call is better than an email, meeting in person is the most appropriate. You should arrange for face-to-face meetings with clients when things go right, wrong, or are otherwise indifferent, if it’s possible. The more you’re able to have these face-to-face meetings with a client, the stronger your bond will grow.
3. UNDER Promise and OVER Deliver
It’s a simple saying, but it can’t be stressed enough: under promise and over deliver. If you make this a habit, you’ll rarely put yourself in a situation where you’ll let a client down. Instead, you’ll dramatically increase your chances of looking good even when you barely exceed your own expectations.
4. Don’t Burn Bridges over petty issues
How many times do you let small, petty things cost you a relationship with a client? Do you fail to return phone calls? Do you follow up a referral from a client? Do you miss and appointment and not bother to call? If you’re honest, burning a bridge rarely turns out to be a positive thing when you look back on a situation. Try to understand this and be willing to lose the battle in order to win the war.
5. Set Mutual Goals>
At times you feel like you and your client are on totally different pages because you have different objectives. The solution to this common issue is to set mutual goals from the very beginning. As soon as you start a new project with a client, sit down together, preferably face to face and come up with mutual goals. This puts you both on the same page and gives you something to point to later on when challenges arise.
6. Build Credibility over Time
It takes time to build credibility, so stop trying to make it happen overnight. It’s normal for a client not to trust you the first or the second time you meet. Trust takes years to build and can be destroyed in a matter of minutes. Be consistent and methodical in how you deal with your clients. Focus on slowly building credibility with each and every thing you do and say. With this sort of conscious precision, you’ll eventually wake up and realize that you have healthy client relationships that are defined by trust.
7. Be Transparent and Human
It’s wrong to always present a polished version of yourself in front of customers. This will end up transforming you into a person you aren’t. Mistakes are going to happen and it’s much better to be open about them. Its proves that your human and although your clients might be frustrated about them, ultimately puts them at ease
In an effort to push your business to the next level, you have to start prioritizing client relationships over things that really don’t matter in the long run. Its hard work, but the payoff can be tremendous.