Your goal is to run a successful business and that means creating strong relationships with your clients. During the sales process, your business is going all out to impress and that positive impression may last for a few months. After a while, you and your clients may hit a period of leveling out and, even more serious, discontent. Just as with any relationship, it can be challenging to maintain happy, long term clients.
For agencies, freelancers, sales and more, here are best practices to creating a business client relationship that lasts.
Know Your Client's Goals
Before you can be an effective business partner to your client, you must first be aware of their business goals. Are you familiar with their key performance indicators (KPIs) and how they define success? Do you know why they hired you and how your performance affects their bottom line? To earn trust and loyalty, their goals must be as important as your own.
While it's imperative to focus on what you do best, it's just as important to model good customer service. Do you have a client contact that championed you as a business partner? Do you know their birthday or if they have any children? Instead of them dreading a call from you, get to know them better so that hearing from you is a pleasure.
Along with building a connection, your business should communicate with your client on a regular basis. Meet with them to discuss results, goals or the status of projects. Talk with them about new strategies or products that will help meet their goals. Not only that, communicating regularly will keep you informed on the pulse of their business.
Ask Them How You're Doing
Does your business do client surveys? When was the last time you asked your client if you were meeting their expectations? Not only does this simple act help you to improve your relationship, it also reveals that you care. It doesn't hurt to find out if there's something you can do better. If they're happy, then rejoice and stay engaged.
Show your client how you're producing or helping them with regular reporting. When you create these reports, make them easily consumable and relevant to their own goals. Be clear and honest in how you generated the numbers. Talk to them about areas where you'd like to see change or improvements. Let them know that you're on the same team aiming for the same goals.
Keep Clients Who Respect Your Business
Relationships are not one-sided and the customer isn't always right. If you want to build solid, happy long-term business relationships that last, your client must be the right client for your business.
- Do they respect your boundaries? If not, here's how to set boundaries.
- Are you noticing red flags? If so, here's how to fire a client.
- Are they paying your invoices on time? If not, here's how to start the conversation about money and keep it friendly.