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As we know, strong relationships are an important part of life—personally and professionally. When it comes to client relationships in business, it’s important to create a strong bond and cultivate a personal connection. Building this relationship will keep your customers happy and lead to a successful and long-lasting relationship—a true win-win situation.
Here are my five most important principles that have helped me build strong client relationships over my 15 years in marketing:
Clients are People
The first, and possibly, the most important thing to remember is that clients are humans, too. Just like you, they want to succeed at their job, they want to get things done, and they want to go home at the end of the day and enjoy their personal lives outside of work. Getting to know your clients—to really understand what drives them and makes them feel accomplished—will help build a personal connection. Once that’s established, an honest and respectful relationship will follow naturally.
Become One Solid Team
Earlier in my career, I used to think of a marketing agency as an extension of the client’s team. But after experiencing something deeper and more collaborative with a previous client, I found there is a stronger approach. Now I strive to completely remove that boundary and establish a personal connection that allows me to become part of that team. Once a client and their agency truly become partners, working toward one common goal, it’s far easier to increase productivity and achieve the desired results.
Communicate Openly and Clearly
Remember: transparency builds trust. It is critical to always be open and honest with your client. It’s okay to not have the answers to everything. Quite often, that’s when the most creative solutions emerge. But it all starts with trust. When you have a truthful relationship, your clients will be confident that you’ll find the best solutions. They’ll see you as an expert.
I pride myself on my availability to clients. I’m always ready to connect with my clients in the ways that work best for them. For some, it might be by phone or email.
Others may opt for text or even social media. While the majority of my clients now prefer digital channels, I recently had a client that preferred old-school phone calls, even for the quick and simple questions or thoughts.
By making myself open to these chats–even when they weren’t necessarily needed–I was able to forge a better connection with an important client. Our deeper, more meaningful conversations could never have occurred via email. Being accommodating goes a long way and lets your clients know you go the extra mile. This all helps to strengthen your personal connections.
Set and Exceed Expectations
It’s important to clarify expectations at the beginning of a client relationship. It’s equally important to not over-promise and then under-deliver. When realistic expectations are in place, you have the opportunity to provide your client with more than they expected. Giving clients extra value is always a huge plus. Whether it’s going above and beyond on deliverables, providing additional knowledge or support, or simply helping them succeed in their own role, overdelivering on expectations is a great way to become an irreplaceable asset to the team.
It’s important to be true to who you are. Let your personality shine. There is a reason why you are in an industry where customer service is important. And there is a reason why people gravitate to you and feel a personal connection. Find the qualities about you that people connect with. The qualities that make people feel comfortable. The qualities that make people want to work with you. Then focus your efforts on strengthening those qualities.
These qualities are different for everyone, but once you dig down a bit and figure that out, the personal connections you make will become stronger. Your relationships will be solidified.
Even if you only focus on a few of these tips, you’ll quickly differentiate yourself in the eyes of your clients. Strive to become more than just an email address at the end of a click. Instead, work to be the person who is always there to help, no matter what. Still have questions or want further insights? I’m always here to help, too.
I’m a Senior Account Supervisor at The S3 Agency, with 15 years of agency experience and a lifelong appreciation of all things humorous. Always hungry to learn new skills, I pride myself on balancing focused reading and listening with making snacks, painting rocks, and refereeing some serious hair-pulling matches for my two beautiful girls.