Ways to Build Client Relationships

Ways to Build Client Relationships

Businesses run only because of clients, and relationships with them are the foundation of every company’s existence. You can’t expect success in the B2B world unless you have cordial relations with your clients. In fact, by improving client relationships, you can set yourself apart from the competition.

Contrary to popular belief, it takes effort to build long-term client relationships. Also, you have to tweak your approach with each client to get the best results as there is no one-size-fits-all concept here.

Firstly, let’s find out more about the importance of having strong relationships with clients and how you can build them. 

Why are strong client relationships important for a business?

You must have observed that when a company offers substandard customer service, they start losing business. This indicates that if you want to grow, you must connect better with clients and develop a long-term relationship as only then you can get repeat business from them. When customers are satisfied, they are more likely to recommend your product or service to the people they know. To date, word-of-mouth marketing fetches excellent results, and that is why it is essential to build strong relationships with clients. 

How to build and maintain good client relationships?

How to build client relationship?

Now that you know the importance of building and maintaining client relationships, you must be wondering what you should do to build them. Here are the ways of building customer relationships and establishing client relationships that last long,

1. Get to know your client

The first step to build a client relationship is to know about your client. Try doing your research and find out

1. How their business works

2. Their competitors

3. Their target audience

4. Their business model

5. Their budget

6. Their short and long term goals, 

7. The technology they currently use 

It is essential because no two companies work the same way, especially those from different industries. Also, you will be able to approach them with more confidence when you have gathered enough knowledge about them. 

On a more personal level, you should try to know about the preferences and interests of those you are working with. That will help you a lot in building a stronger connection with the prospect. 

Choose to schedule a meeting with the client to know them better. It is a critical point to connect with them and know them and their company better. 

2. Find out their preferred communication channels

Sales involve a lot of communication, and you should make sure that you do it effectively. As clients’ preferences can be different, it is your job to find out which is their preferred channel of communication. While few prospects might want to connect over the phone, some get annoyed with calls. Find out what they find convenient and ask them whether it is okay to send updates through email. Also, ask them how to reach them when the matter is urgent. 

Giving importance to the preference of the client is like putting your best foot forward in building strong client relationships.  

3. Consider going out of the way

When you are in the process of building your relationship with a client, there can be times when you have to go out of the way and oblige them. To meet the customer’s requirements, you may have to offer them a customized solution or do something quite different from your core business. When you do so, the client is never going to forget your favor, and it may also open the path for some extra revenue for you. In this way, you may come across an opportunity that you didn’t consider before. Just remember that you are getting paid handsomely for your extra efforts. 

Another way to build strong relationships is by leaving a solid impression on clients by finishing the project ahead of the deadline. It will show that you honor commitments and have dedication towards your work. Clients will indeed talk about your sincerity to their peers, and you are likely to earn referrals. 

4. Pay equal attention to all clients

It would be best if you tried to give equal importance to your clients regardless of their background. Make them feel important even if they run a small business. The point is that when you make the client happy, you are likely to get a referral even if you don’t close a deal with them. Additionally, having a good connection with them will help in the long run because when the client changes jobs, they are likely to recommend you to their new company. You should also note that a client’s small business can scale up and become a Fortune 500 company which means that your good behavior towards them will eventually bear fruit. So, try to meet every client with equal warmth if you want to build strong relationships with them.

5. Deliver what you promise

You have to meet the expectations of clients and deliver what you promise them. Just meeting them won’t do; try your best to exceed that for building a strong relationship with them. It begins by setting realistic expectations right from the beginning. However, if you live up to them, you can create a good rapport with the client, and they will start trusting you more. Hence, it is essential to give all you can to deliver what you promised so that the client can rely on you.

6. Show the client your human side

When you are building your relationship with clients, you have to treat it just like other relationships. There is a need for courtesy, understanding, and kindness. You should treat the client as a person and show genuine concern if you want a long-lasting bond with the customer.

Let’s consider this example: If the client has been unwell for a while, you should send an email and ask them about their welfare. It would make them feel that you think about them and mean well to them. 

Remember that the other person would know if you are faking it, which would turn them off. Note that you should know your boundaries and not be over-friendly with the clients, making them uncomfortable. It is a crucial point to bear in mind when you build customer relationships

7. Earn your place as a expert

Earning the trust of the client is the most precious thing for a salesperson. To look like an expert, you have to be proficient in your niche and know your product or service inside-out. You have to show that you have complete knowledge of your industry, which will show in how you talk and act. When the client understands that you are knowledgeable enough, they will look up to you for advice, and you have to make sure that you maintain that image well. You can even send them resources that they would find helpful or invite them to an event that will be useful to them. 

8. Request for feedback and act upon it

It would be best if you always ask for the client’s feedback. However, feedback alone will not do you any good. You have to take the feedback and act upon it to improve your work process. So, when you get feedback from them, listen to it, clear your doubts and summarize what you understood. You should then implement it and let them know that you have made the changes. You may be wondering how this will help nurture your relationship with the client. Well, when you implement the client’s feedback, they would feel happy that you pay heed to them and are willing to accept constructive criticism. It is a significant stepping stone towards building rock-solid relationships with clients 

9. Follow-up persistently

If you tend to give up easily, you can’t expect to get great results. You must follow up with persistence so that you don’t lose the client. However, don’t behave like a stalker. You can even ask the client when they would like to interact with you so that you don’t end up annoying them. Use social networking platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to follow up along with sending emails in between. It would be even better if you offer free resources to the prospect that they would find helpful. 

Try using an outreach tool that schedules follow-ups for you so that you don’t miss sending follow-up messages to clients. 

10. Don’t talk only about business

While you have a professional relationship with the client, you need not restrict it to be just that. You have to go beyond the business connection and get a little personal for a stronger bond with the client. You can ask how the vacation of your client went or ask them about their latest personal accomplishments. It is okay to talk about things that are not connected with business because it is the little stuff that matters a lot. You can send them a card to wish them on special occasions to bring in a personal touch. Treating clients as people will help you stand out from the salespersons who only look at clients as sales opportunities and don’t know how to build customer relationships with them. 

11. Be open and give your honest opinion

If you want to build a long-lasting relationship with clients, they need to trust you. For that, you have to be open about your thoughts and your opinion regarding a project. Simply nodding to what clients say and not telling them what your actual opinion is will eventually backfire. You won’t look genuinely interested, and the chances of building a long-term relationship will fizzle out. When you express your opinions confidently, your clients will look up to you for your advice and turn to you for future requirements. It is an excellent way of building and maintaining client relationships   

12. Be proactive

You should be proactive with clients and try to share new ideas and strategies with them. Moreover, get them prepared for upcoming technological changes and help them with the actions they should take. Try your best to educate the client to be independent and move around without handholding them. In a way, the clients will appreciate this act of yours which will help in building trust. 

13. Be honest if you are unsure

Most often, you would want to say yes to whatever the client says. But it can be risky to do so when the prospect has big plans. If there is the slightest doubt about whether you can live up to the client’s expectations, share it with them right away. Don’t blindly say yes at that time and later back off, you will lose the prospect’s trust. If you have an issue, you can say something like – “That sounds amazing, but there may be some policies that we have to consider, so please allow me to double-check before we proceed.” By being honest, you will earn the other person’s trust and get repeat business. 

14. Make use of technology

Turn to technology if you want to impress your prospects. With tools that automate the work process, it would be possible to deliver your solution on time. Plus, you would look more professional. Clubbed with excellent skills, the use of tools will leave a lasting impact on your clients, and they would consider doing business with you. 

Skills required for developing client relationships

There are certain skills that you must develop to build strong relationships with clients,

1. Being Patient 

For a salesperson, patience is the quality you must possess. There will be times when your client will get too demanding, but you have to exhibit your best behavior and be patient. It will help you understand the customer’s pain points and the situation better. If you lose your temper, you will be at a loss because many other businesses offer a product or service similar to yours. 

2. Paying Attention 

Everyone likes getting attention, and this is one tactic that can make you get into your client’s good books.  You must try to pay attention to the client and listen actively to understand what they need and the issues they are currently facing. When you know what they require, you can present your solution to them in such a way that they cannot say no. It will help you close deals faster. 

3. Being able to communicate well  

Like how communication is essential in every relationship, it is an integral part of a client relationship. You have to work towards honing your communication skills when you are a sales rep. While communicating with prospects you need to take care that they get impressed by you, and that would be like winning half of the battle. You should know what to say in which situation. Also, being readily available for the client will make them feel as though they are essential for you. It makes the clients more comfortable in sharing all the details. However, there is a boundary of professionalism and friendliness that you have to set. 

4. Managing time well

When you get a lot of stuff done in a short period, you will impress your clients. Everybody is in a rush, and the fact that you value other people’s time will further strengthen your relationship. You must learn how to allocate your time to each task to get more done in a short time. 

How to build client relationships remotely? 

Are you wondering how to build customer relationships virtually? In this age of the pandemic, interacting remotely with clients is the new normal. Due to social distancing, salespeople prefer connecting virtually to in-person meetings. However, it is still possible to build strong relationships.

One way is by engaging in conversations on professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. It is possible to join groups with people from the same industry or those who share common interests. In addition, you can interact with those who have similar interests or are from the same background as yours. 

Another option is to search for articles related to your business on the internet and leave your comments for the article author or other visitors. You should try to wait for responses and use them as an excuse to start a conversation. That’s a great way to build client relationships virtually. 

Books that help in building client relationship

You must try to level up your skills to build lasting relationships with clients. Here’s a list of the best books that you must read when you want to build customer relationships and make your business scale up,

1. Managing The Professional Service Firm by David H. Maister

2. All for One: 10 Strategies for Building Trusted Client Partnerships by Andrew Sobel

3. What Clients Really Want by Chantell Glenville

4. The Art of Client Service by Robert Solomon

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

6. Financial Times Guides: Business Development – How to Win Profitable Customers and Clients

7. Effective Client Management in Professional Services: How to Build Successful Client Relationships by Jack Berkovi

8. Developing Knowledge-based Client Relationships: Leadership in Professional Services by Ross Dawson

9. The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Robert Galford, and Charles Green

10. Making Rain: The Secrets of Building Lifelong Client Loyalty by Andrew Sobel

10 books on how to build client relationship

Conclusion 

As you know why strong client relationships are essential for a business, you must be willing to put your best foot forward to impress your clients. To build solid client relationships, you need to be trustworthy, reliable, transparent, and approachable. It will be easier to use the strategies mentioned above to make a concrete connection between your clients and your business. 


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