Building client relationships that are strong requires you to put in not only the time that is required, but the care that is also necessary in order to grow and maintain them. Fostering strong client relationships is necessary for business sustainability and growth! Below are our top tips for cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with your clients.
1. Build Trust
All relationships, even the work ones, rely on a foundation of trust. Building trust early is a crucial element to establishing a resilient client relationship. Seize opportunities to engage with your client in meaningful ways. Take note of details shared with you, and make mention when you connect next. Give merit to the impact you will make when asking about that soccer game or dance recital. Practice active listening, be attentive, and communicate with purpose. Create a culture of transparency, with open dialogue and visibility, to afford clients the feeling of security in your partnership.
2. Be Empathetic
Don’t keep it strictly business! Understand that your client wants to be seen, heard, and valued as a consumer seeking a service that you are providing—but also as an individual. Showing humanity is vital when building a partnership. Your client’s problem is equally yours to navigate alongside them. Empathy is the ability to consider a situation through the perspectives and experiences of another. Therefore, you must be able to figuratively slip into their shoes, hear their thoughts, and understand their priorities. Show up in a way that best supports them by adhering to the Platinum rule: Treat others how they want to be treated.
3. Take Responsibility
No one is immune to errors, faults, or inaccuracies. Mistakes are going to happen, and this is when transparency and humanity come into play. When a mistake is made, acknowledge it, take responsibility for it, and be willing to discuss what future actions can aid in preventing a repeat scenario. It is better to be honest upfront rather than risk the negative impact of delaying bad news. Operating with integrity, by demonstrating ownership and maintaining transparency, will encourage the client to maintain trust in you. You may even be surprised to learn that their confidence in you will likely increase.
4. Be the Expert
In order to exert yourself as an expert, you will need to be proficient in the knowledge of your industry, but also, you will need to know the service that you are providing inside and out. Once a client has developed the trust in your expert opinion, they will look to you for advice and recommendations. Ensure that you maintain this image and trust with your client. This is a crucial step in building stronger client relationships.
Remember that you are the expert, sought after by clients for advice, guidance, and support. They need you to demonstrate confidence while you navigate the successful execution of their vision. Having a strong sense of understanding and direction has value in maintaining client relationships. Partner with your client in order to build a solid strategy. Additionally, do not forget to be able to articulate goals, next steps, and a clear “why” of your plan. Collaboration is extremely important, but it is equally important to maintain your expert voice.
5. Track Progress
Once a strategy is employed, you are going to need to track the progress of the changes being made. There are many tools that can be leveraged in order to track progress, such as Google Analytics, ad network conversions tracking, KPI tracking, Data Studio reporting, and more. You want to be able to show your client the success measures and opportunity areas with data to reaffirm any decisions made.
One example of how you can better track progress is in your reporting. A great tool that we leverage here at Go Fish Digital, for our monthly and quarterly reporting, is Google Data Studio. We have created reports that update in real time that pull information in from Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, Laravel, Sheets, and more. They can view full service up-to-date data and performance in one place at any time. Sounds efficient right?
Additionally, with these reports, clients can review a variety of date ranges going back as far as analytics allows. For pages such as Search Engine Marketing Performance, clients can filter down by campaign type, campaign, and ad group as needed. Giving clients the ability to see all relevant data relating to their accounts in one place delivers the ultimate visibility to a client. It is important to create this kind of transparency and visibility!
By leveraging tools that can increase visibility for your client, you will be able to better identify areas of strength and opportunity in your strategy. In tracking progress, you can ensure that you are able to adjust the figurative sails throughout the storms as needed at the first signs of possible concern.
6. Be Yourself
The last tip on our list is quite possibly one of the most important of them all, be yourself. Sounds easy enough right? This is one area that anyone else around you would absolutely fail at replicating, no matter how hard they try. No one can be as “you” as you are. It is important to recognize your strengths and lead with those strengths when communicating with your client. Ask yourself, how can I make my client feel seen, heard, and valued?
As an example, I consider myself to have quite the sense of humor. I enjoy getting to know what makes my clients feel comfortable, but also very much enjoy learning what makes them laugh and smile. There is value in providing comfort, laughter, and understanding with clients. I believe that this in turn assists greatly in the relationships that I have built with them.
I bet you didn’t expect homework from this article, but set aside some time today or tonight to truly do some self reflection! Take a moment and genuinely think about the parts of yourself that shine, those attributes that you can pull forward when communicating with clients. How can you make your clients feel seen, heard, and valued by leveraging more of your natural strengths? In the wise words of Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
You now have a few new tips to take with you into your existing and future client dynamics! In the beginning, it can be a daunting task trying to create the firm foundation necessary to foster strong and lasting client relationships. It will take more than delivering great results. It will require a well-rounded approach accompanied by a genuine time and thought investment. However, you have the tools necessary in order to make your relationships with your clients truly exceptional.
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