Nowadays, it is very common for more and more professionals to focus on their resources on gaining new business. But the truth is that building and maintaining strong relationships with existing clients, can really set you up for repeat business. And even if clients don’t return to you, it is likely that they will recommend you to others. Of course, this cannot be created from one day to another.
Here are some useful tips that many professionals use in order to achieve such a bond
Communication plays a tremendous role in our lives, so why not in a business context as well? Communication has to be a priority. In addition to this, being available demonstrates how their satisfaction is important to you. Building strong relationships is not so easy. It needs time. However, if you achieve something this, then the people you are dealing with feel more comfortable. As a result, they will be more honest and open with you.
The number of responsibilities that a professional carries on are many and this makes lots of people feel very stressed. This feeling shouldn’t be transferred to a client or potential client, though. The emotional vibes that we transfer to another person could affect a situation (deal – cooperation) either positively or negatively. That is the reason why we have to always think positively and smile, no matter what we feel. Studying about emotional intelligence is something that could be very beneficial for many of us, as we could become more able to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions. We must not forget that research has shown that people enjoy to work and cooperate with other people, who are enthusiasts and pleasant.
Another important aspect of building strong relationships is how you treat your clients. Even if you are dealing with really big companies of more than seven hundreds employees, the individuals that you are dealing with are only a couple. What I mean is that we have to treat our client as an individual. While your relationship with your client is of a professional nature, acknowledging that you see them as a person—that is, more than just a paycheck—can go a long way. The extent to which this personal connection is appropriate will vary depending on your industry, client type, and of course the client’s personality. If you have a closer relationship with your client, something more personal such as emailing them a news article about their favourite sports team might be appropriate and appreciated.
Nowadays, we also come across many start-ups that have a more complicated business field. As a result, people cannot easily understand their area of expertise. This possibly makes them feel that they are not knowledgable enough about the intricacies of the process, and therefore disconnected from the development of the project. Grab the chance to share information that can make clients understand better what processes you follow. Explain to them how that solution could be beneficial for their company. Extra tip! Share it full of enthusiasm, and make sure that they fully understand what you mean, and you will ensure you have next to you an active listener.
Clients must be able to trust you and rely on you as an expert. It is, therefore, a prerequisite to maintain a policy of openness when it comes to your professional opinion and point of view in terms of what the best interest is for the project. It can be tempting to want to appear agreeable and avoid uncomfortable confrontation by telling a client what you think they want to hear or withholding your true opinion about their project. However, these practices are not only counterproductive but can also damage your reputation, decreasing your chances of building a lasting relationship. By confidently expressing your honest opinions, clients will respect your initiative and desire for excellence.
Many of you will agree with the following; one of the best ways to help build a strong relationship with a client is to develop a reputation as an independent professional who delivers exceptional results. Of course, this means that you shouldn’t oversell yourself or even promise unrealistic results. In order to exceed your clients’ expectation, you must ensure that you have successfully allocated all valuable resource for each project. In other words, the key is to to find the opportunity to go above and beyond in a manner that your clients will appreciate.
The Importance of Active Listening
Active listening builds strong relationships and, while it may not come naturally to many of us, it’s an invaluable communication skill. Strong and effective communication skills are essential, in a field where emotions often reach critical mass. Teamwork is imperative for everyone involved.
On the other hand, passive listening could be a disaster as it could have as a result misunderstanding. Passive listening is listening without reacting: allowing someone to speak, without interrupting, but not really paying attention to what’s being said. Passive listening is one-way communication where the receiver doesn’t provide feedback or ask questions and may or may not understand the sender’s message.
The importance of Regular Meetings
The majority of professionals are familiar with the term “ 1:1 meetings”. Research has shown that one to one meetings are key to success. Sitting together on a regular basis helps people stay informed, and build a trusting relationship. This means that regular personal conversations help both parties get to know each other better and build mutual trust. In a 1:1 meeting, a team is able to build a trusting relationship, staying informed and aligned. It is important to seek feedback in such meetings, in order to help each other grow.
Being in touch with the market can only be beneficial for you and your business. By having regular meetings with your clients, it’s easier for you to be proactive. We have to remember the global economic crisis we are going through. Watching the news on tv and reading articles on the web might be not enough. Sometimes, it is way more important to have an ear on the market and getting all the important news first -even rumours sometimes- rather than being the last to know through an article.
Keep this in mind…..It’s all about the people and building relationships!