Say what?? It seems a little alien to think about going beyond providing quality services, being punctual, warm, friendly and very competent. However, you can foster a relationship with your clients by better understanding their communication style and personality; making sure you understand what they want from you; giving them thoughtful feedback and ideas; and being reliable.
Help them understand what their part is in the success of a project or program. Be honest (blunt) about how long it might take and how much it is likely to cost. As the saying goes, “Under promise and over deliver.” It will keep them coming back for more!
Managing your client is about earning their trust and respect by working together to create the best possible working relationship.
A few tips to strengthening and keeping a positive relationship with your clients.
- Learn how to best communicate with them.
What level of detail do they prefer? How often do they want to meet? Are they in a hurry or do they prefer to study the details?
- Be proactive.
Understand the strengths you bring to the work and ensure they are aware of them. Be confident and open-minded and not arrogant.
- Meet regularly.
- Ask their opinion.
Ask for their perspective on things. Share your ideas and planned approach, and ask for their input. Ask for their feedback and ideas. Be sure to listen!
- Create solutions.
Every project can have challenges or problems. When that occurs, develop solution choices before sharing the problem with them. If they have a complaint, look at ways to solve it. Don’t defend yourself or your company. No excuses. Just make it right.
- Develop a power that makes you attractive.
Be the expert, stay apprised of changes in your industry, understand the competition, create and sustain a dream customer/client relationship. Become indispensable! Market and utilize a strength that they will appreciate and use.
- Do a reality check
Remain positive and let them know what is possible – or not possible – to achieve. Make every effort to be outstanding…..within reality.
Invest the time to build a relationship with your clients, understand how they prefer to be communicated with, and model your leadership behaviors to support those preferences. They will trust you more because of it!
Ann Meacham, president of Leadership Dynamics,works with CEOs and business leaders to clear their blind spots so they can identify the issues that need to be addressed and focus on making their business succeed.