In order to run a successful strategic communications agency, we must interact with clients and form lasting relationships with them. By doing so, we build trust with our clients which makes collaborating a positive experience while helping us become more successful.
Working with an agency requires outstanding communication skills. So here are 5 tips on building relationships with your clients.
- Be aware of how you conduct yourself.
Building relationships with clients absolutely requires respect. No matter how the client behaves, you never want to act disrespectful. People can read how others feel about them through body language and tone of voice. Give your client your full attention while you are interacting. Do not cross your arms or legs or gaze off into the distance. Be sure to make eye contact and smile. Listen and do not interrupt him while he or she is talking. You want your client to know that you are listening and genuinely care about what they are saying. Interrupting would make you appear as if you were apathetic or a “know it all.” You don’t want your client to feel as if you are bored or in a hurry. Building relationships take time and effort – so don’t be lazy or hasty with how you conduct yourself.
- Ask questions.
While your primary concern is business, the conversation does not have to be solely about the increase in revenue or social media engagement. Start by asking your clients how their day has been or ask about their family. After they responds, remember their answers. Then the next time you talk, bring up your previous conversation. A simple “How’s your daughter’s soccer team doing?” can show your clients that you care about them personally which builds a friendship as well as a business partnership. However, be careful when asking your clients about their life. If they seems uncomfortable talking about their personal life, change the subject. You don’t want to come off being pushy, fake, or too nosy!
- Set realistic goals.
When you meet with a client, set goals that he wishes to accomplish while you work together. What objectives does your client want his company to accomplish? What is a reasonable end goal? Make a list of attainable objectives and research what media mix works best. By sharing your visions and agreeing on a strategy, you can connect with the client on a new level. You become partners, rather than individuals.
- After a meeting, follow up.
Many topics are brought up during meetings, such as media pitches, ideas for planning the next event, and possible blog themes. Once the meeting ends, send a follow up email to your client reiterating what goals they want to accomplish, as well as strategies discussed to meet those goals. This approach prevents any unintended miscommunication that could possibly come up in the future. Sending a written summary allows for smoother business and keeps everyone on the same page.
- Be honest and diplomatic.
While you don’t want to offend any clients, you need to be honest and diplomatic with them. Whether it be about a marketing approach or about a business transaction, honesty is always the best policy. Giving clients your well researched opinion can save a lot of time and money. If you know from experience that a past pitch, event, or blog has not been successful for reasons X and Y, be open with your client. Share your past situation with him, and he will likely appreciate your concern. Do not hesitate to tell your client if an approach is not working; be honest about the numbers, data, and forecasted revenue. By sharing your experiences with your client, you build an open relationship and gain more business for your agency.
Building relationships with clients is crucial to our success. By following these tips, you can ensure that you will have positive, lasting relationships that are “win-win” for everyone.