You may be a small business owner or an employee working for one. However, your clients are the lifeblood of your business and deserve to be treated with the utmost respect and care. Quite obviously, with no clients, you wouldn’t have a company at all! Having many clients may seem the ultimate goal for any business owner or employee today (and it is). Nevertheless, these people are what makes everything work — including our livelihoods. We, therefore, need to put in extra effort to build strong relationships with clients. Here are some easy ways we can do just that:
1 Learn to recognize the truth about bad clients
Recognizing bad clients isn’t the same as enjoying them. I don’t want all of my clients, but they are all good for me somehow. ‘Bad clients’ can be a great source of income, experience, and networking opportunities. Even if you don’t like a particular client, there are still ways in which they can help you grow your business or brand.
2 Don’t settle for less than you deserve
Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Clients may try to exploit your eagerness and willingness to work with them. However, don’t allow this. Stand up for yourself as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down or say no if necessary. If clients are asking you to do something that doesn’t make sense or isn’t within the scope of what they hired you for in the first place, speak up! Don’t let clients walk all over you just because they hired you—if anything; this should give them more respect for your abilities as a professional designer. It is not only difficult to be noticed in this competitive industry. Maintaining client relationships over time is difficult despite quality artistry meeting their expectations.
3 Be an active listener
Listening is a skill that can be learned. Active listening means more than simply hearing what the other person is saying. It’s about listening fully and understanding what they genuinely want to say instead of simply hearing their words. You learn more about the client’s needs and interests when actively listening. You can use active listening to build trust and rapport with clients. You can demonstrate your interest in their situation while helping them feel confident discussing their problems.
4 Set limits and stick to them
When working with clients, you should limit how much time you will spend on a project. This can help keep you focused and accountable for your work. Sticking to these limits will also help you avoid too much work and becoming overwhelmed.
You should always stick to your limits! If not, you may spend too much time working on one project or task and cannot promptly complete other charges. How and when to say no.
Learn to say no. You may be tempted to take on every project that comes your way; however, learning how and when to say no is an important skill. Your clients will appreciate it if you create a schedule of projects so they can see where their money is going and what the future has in store for them. Say no when something isn’t worth your time or energy. Many requests come across our desks that we could do gratis, but why would we want to? If we’re not being paid for something, it’s likely not worth our time or effort (or both).
6 Develop rapport with your clients
Developing and maintaining rapport is one of the most essential skills of a salesperson. When clients feel they can relate to you, they’re more likely to trust and want to work with you. Here are some ways of developing rapport:
- Express interest in what your client cares about (and don’t be afraid to show it).
- Ask questions about their interests and concerns—this shows that you care enough about them and that it’s worth asking for specific information about them, not just offering generic statements about how great everything is going for them right now.
- Show empathy for their feelings by acknowledging them (e.g., “That must be frustrating”).
Here are some ways of maintaining rapport:
- Always make sure that any feedback or criticism delivered by a colleague or manager is provided respectfully—if there are issues with someone else’s performance at work, this should never come across as an attack on their character; instead, use language like “I think we may need some help here” rather than “You’ve been messing up lately.”
7 Always come prepared for meetings, calls, and projects with your client
Having everything organized and ready to go will ensure you keep everything on track. It would help if you were on time or early when meeting in person. This will show that you are serious about the project, which can lead to more business from the client. Make sure that any documents necessary are printed out well in advance so that there is no delay in getting started. Always have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong during the meeting or call − for instance, should there be low battery power on either end of the line. Being flexible is essential when working with clients. Sometimes, without warning, clients may change their minds about something (it happens). However, you should still not compromise on your core values as an individual or company just because someone else wants something different than what was initially agreed upon by all parties involved.
8 Be available to your clients, but not too general!
- Don’t overbook yourself. Know how many clients you can handle and turn down new ones when necessary.
- Be available to your clients, but not too general! Part of building and maintaining client relationships is being accessible and easy to contact. However, please don’t take on more than you can handle, or you risk under-delivering on their expectations.
- Don’t be afraid to refuse new projects if they take up too much of your time or resources. You might regret it later when clients come back asking for assistance again. These clients may have been turned away by someone else who could provide them with higher-quality service. There is nothing wrong with rejecting a project. It isn’t worth the effort of completing it properly! It doesn’t make sense for either party should one party deliver less than stellar work. This could be because they don’t have anything else going on at that moment (because neither do any other projects).
9 Be transparent in everything you do with your clients
It is vital to be transparent in everything you do with your clients — even if they don’t ask you to be. Transparency builds trust and respect − two critical ingredients for any relationship. Trust is an essential part of any business relationship. Trust must be earned over time by being open and authentic with your clients. If they see that you’re not hiding anything from them or trying to pull the wool over their eyes, they’ll feel confident to work with you. They will then start viewing you as an ally rather than a competitor.
10 Make sure you are on the same page in terms of goals
Ensure you are aligned regarding goals, expectations, and what you can consistently deliver. There should never be any surprises later on. Such could cause severe problems in both the short and long term for your business relationship. It would help if you also considered explicitly agreeing with your client about each party’s roles in achieving these goals. For example, one party may be responsible for creating marketing materials (such as advertisements). They should not be held accountable if they do not receive any client feedback on whether those materials were successful − this would be outside the scope of their responsibility.
Respect clients. They’re vital for success.
Clients are valuable assets that deserve much respect and time from their employees; we should treat them well because they are the lifeblood of any company! Moreover, understandably, every client is an asset. Clients account for the prosperity of any business. They deserve a great deal of respect and time from their employees. As you’re building your client relationships, you should bear in mind how valuable clients are. If your clients are unhappy with the service provided by your company, there will be no one to build effective sales strategies for − those clients won’t be willing to buy anything from you!
Building solid relationships with your clients is crucial to succeed in business. These tips should help you get onto the right track, one in which you lay a strong foundation for future success.
You can give your client better attention and customer service if you delegate low-level tasks to virtual assistants. This will free up your time to focus on the customer’s needs. The effect would be a boost in sales and clients that will remain loyal.
Also, remember most famous entrepreneurs started small, and their success came from hard work and thinking smart. You can do it as well.