When it comes to a professional relationship you might think there is a set of rules that should be respected in order to guarantee the success of the business relationship. The truth is that personal relationships and professional relationships are not that different when it comes to how often you should speak in order to keep the relationship strong.
Your clients are people and that’s something you shouldn’t forget. As in the case of personal relationships, their preferences can differ so the thing you should always keep in mind when it comes to interaction is: the better you know the person, the better the interaction will be. Sure, you will learn these things in time while working on the client relationships so, as in your personal life, you learn while building trust.
Paying attention to responses and getting to know what your client prefer in terms of communication and periodicity will create the needed base for a strong relationship.
Besides the informative communication, it is a good idea to ask questions in order to learn more about the other person, to be open to feedback and to respect your client’s needs and desires. If you feel your client needs space, allow that space and don’t force the interaction. Some people like to have short, professional conversations, while others prefer to create a personal bound too. It’s all about trust and respect after all, so you have to pay attention and learn what’s the best form of communication for each and every client.
Sharing your knowledge is another great way to keep strong relationships with your clients, but be sure you are not offering unsolicited advice. If one of your clients has a problem you can help with, mention that you can help and how you can help. It is best to establish the rules from the very beginning. If your advice is actually a paid consultation mention that, but not before sharing some free tips. Proving that you are knowledgeable is the best way to build strong long term relationships.
People like to feel appreciated so be sure, from time to time, you thank your client for choosing to work with you. Holiday messages are also a good idea when it comes to client relationships. These two types of interactions create a special bond between you and the client and it creates the proper environment for a long term relationship. Don’t overdo the thanking part though, people feel when businesses try to force the interaction and the best way to avoid this is to thank them when you reach milestones or on special occasions.
It depends on the relationship you have with your client, but once in a while you can ask for feedback and advice. Don’t make this a monthly habit, but keep in mind that once or twice a year you can invite your clients to be part of your business by allowing them to help you with feedback.
If it’s hard for you to determine the best approach for some clients, ask them how often they prefer to communicate and make sure you respect the timeline you agreed upon together.
The key to a strong client relationship is communication, so be sure you have that under control and keep in mind that when you don’t know what someone’s preferences are, the better way to find out is to ask, not assume.