How to build strong client relationships

How to build strong client relationships

One of the key questions owners of new or established small businesses ask is: what can I do to grow my business quickly?

It’s one of the toughest challenges a business owner faces, and yet one of the keys to business growth is often overseen.

That is the focus on building and maintaining strong relationships with your clients.

Whether you’re an agency or you’re the client, there are so many benefits to gain from a relationship built on strong foundations.

This doesn’t mean you have to give in to every client demand, but rather that you challenge the client to think and act differently in response to the world they operate in.

Some effective ways to start building these client relationship foundations include:

Respect

Any and all relationships are built on respect. Business relationships should be treated no differently.

Making sure to treat all your clients with the same level of respect as you’d treat your loved ones is crucial.

Note that the lines between professional and unprofessional practice can often get blurry here. Making sure that respect is also reciprocated is essential to long-term business relationships. It is a two-way street.

Truth

Always be honest with your clients.

Bending the truth may avoid an awkward situation in the short-term but this will definitely come back to bite you in the long-term.

One of the best ways to get a lead and earn a reputation is through word-of-mouth and referrals. If you’re known for being distrustful or lying, this will tarnish your business reputation as well as your individual one.

Honesty is the best policy – so run with it.

Customer Service

Your duty as a sales professional is to be able to provide the best experience possible for your client whilst also making the process easy.

Friendly, efficient and effective customer service is key. This means answering their emails and phone calls right away.

Don’t stress if you are caught up in something and can’t speak right away. The point is that you actively endeavour to follow that call up. Letting your customer know you will be calling them back proves you’re invested in helping them out.

They will appreciate this much more than being left in the dark and not knowing if you have read their email, or even care!

Educate

Aside from offering exceptional customer service, if you want to differentiate your company and its culture from your competitors, then you’ll have to offer continued value to the client on a regular basis.

This doesn’t mean cross-selling (although it can lead to this), but rather being perceived as a thought leader or valuable partner offering insights into areas that disrupt their business.

For example, a client will appreciate you more if you can help them avoid a potential land mine.

If you’re able to offer something unique, you’re more likely to build a long-lasting client relationship.

Don’t Just Focus on the Big Accounts

Although your big bill paying customers may be given greater privilege due to their commitment to your business, don’t treat the smaller customers differently.

Your smaller customers often have the most potential to grow (customer lifetime value). Provide enough water on the seedlings and they’ll grow into tall trees soon enough.

Put A Face to the Name

Even if you will never meet the client face-to-face, make sure they know who you are.

Use a professional platform such as LinkedIn to connect more personally with your customers.

By removing the corporate image, one layer at a time, this will allow you to connect with an actual human.

Interest

Show genuine interest in your clients.

Every person on this planet has an interesting story to tell. If you listen hard enough, so will your customers.

Growing your business doesn’t need to be rocket science. It’s worth reflecting on the way that you currently interact with customers and establishing new practices that will help those relationships grow. You’ll notice the difference it makes to the success of your business.

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