Where do you begin differentiating your business from your competition? As unique as your company may be or your products and services are, it all goes down to how you treat your clients. Do you view them as mere leads or potential sales that are only convertible to profit for your business or as valuable assets that has a continued impact on the success of your business? It’s no secret that businesses that forge strong ties with their clients are more likely to succeed than businesses whose only concern is to make a sale. The question lies in the process of making that connection, “How do you build strong and lasting client relationships?” That initial contact does count but after you made a lasting first impression, how do you go beyond it? How do you convert that meeting into a lasting relationship and a strong one for that matter? There’s no secret formula or universal system in making strong client relationship last all the time. But there are definitely a lot of things you can do to make sure your client stays even after your project with them is finished. Here are some tips to help you develop and foster strong and lasting client relationships:
1. Give them all the attention they need.
Have you heard someone complain about a company that has been over-communicating with them? Yes there has been complains of miscommunication, misinformation and unresponsiveness but we’ve never heard of someone complain about a business that has been providing them all the attention and information that they need/want. The key here is consistency. Stay true to your promises, commit to communicating with them on a regular basis and don’t let any of their concerns go unnoticed. Also pay close attention to their needs, if they have an inquiry don’t let it stay unanswered for a long time.
2. Get to know their business/company… and your client too.
"The more you know about how they do business, and where their business is going, the more valuable you can be to them. Having that knowledge tranforms you from being a contact, to being a consultant." - Mike Beckwith, Webonise Project Manager
Besides their business, knowing the very individual you are dealing with, remembering a certain aspect of their personality will come a long way. The best way to show them that you're in it for the long haul is to connect with them in a more personal manner. Identify with them as a person not just as money making opportunities. Talk with them about the business but don’t forget to ask how their day went or even share something that you know they would be interested in.
3. Educated Client = Time Saved & Less Frustration
Webonise VP - Products and Delivery Bhuvan Khanna with DRF clients, Jake and Wayne.
Provide information not only for the sake of making a sale but because you genuinely want to share knowledge to your client. An educated client makes smart decisions and they will choose to work with a company that will not take advantage of them. Be that company. Operate on the premise that you want the best for your client even though that means that they will not work with you. Once they see that you can offer more value there’s a good chance they will come back and be loyal to you. Frustration stems from miscommunication, misunderstanding and confusion. Regularly update your client and let them know of any issues or developments concerning their project straight ahead.
4. Go the extra mile.
Once you have established a strong and lasting relationship with your clients, it pays to continuously nurture it. Never grow complacent. Don’t lose sight of the clients you already have to bring more clients in. It may be easy to attract new clients but client loyalty is harder to find. Honor those that have been loyal to your company. Stop by their office and deliver an output earlier than expected. Treat them to lunch or offer then an exclusive discount. Express your gratitude towards their continued patronage of your business through gestures, no matter how big or small they are.
Tyson Hannish of MLB.com Digital Academy and Creative Director Erin Cummings blow off steam after the work day at the gym.
5. Be Honest and Genuine.
Strong relationships and lasting interactions are based on a foundation of honesty and authenticity. Stay true to your values and what your business can truly offer. Never make false promises or mislead your clients. Build your clients expectations based on what you can deliver as a business to avoid disappointments. Don’t pretend that you are bigger than what you are as an organization, if you can’t handle the load, let your client know. It’s better to be completely honest with your client than to try to meet their expectations and fail miserably. What other businesses fail to realize is that developing client relationships starts with personalization. Viewing your clients as individuals whose wants, preferences and disinclinations are entirely different from one another. Start from their unique personas and you’ll be able to decipher what kind of value you can offer that will stay through to your client. It shouldn’t end with a sale. Not even after the contract is signed. It actually just starts there.