We all know that client relationships are important. Being creative and resourceful is essential to maintaining and growing your client base. Wendi McNeill, owner of Charli Jane Speaker Services, an informational web-based business for speakers and meeting planners, provides seminars and coaching programs to help small businesses foster positive client relationships based on seven simple steps.
1. Be Nice.
Okay, it sounds pretty elementary but if you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. How many negative people do you run across in a day? You don’t want to interact with them or be around them, so why would you want to do business with them? If you’re having a bad day and can’t seem to turn it around, then don’t interact with your clients. One bad day can turn a client in the other direction, or send a potential client running to someone else.
Most people can’t seem to find enough hours in a day in today’s business world. But you have to understand the importance of following up with both potential clients and current clients. The simple act of following up will not only make you stand out from your competitors, but will let your clients know that you do care about them. Successful follow-up actions can simply include an email, handwritten letters, an invitation to an event, or a phone call. You want to choose follow-up actions that will fit your style and remember to do them on a regular basis. If you can consistently implement follow-up actions into your business, you will be amazed at how much your network grows. Remember people are what count, not just another sale or client to add to your list. Make them feel special and let them know you do care.
3. Give Yourself.
Most people today think about what they can get from other people, how they can advance in their careers, or grow their business. Let’s turn this around and consider what you can give your clients and your network that will help them grow or help them solve a problem. Give from your heart – not expecting anything in return. You might be amazed at the results. Keep in mind that building relationships are a two-way street that begins with you. Always approach relationships in a generous, giving, and positive manner.
4. Establish Trust.
Yes, this is an important one. People will not do business with someone they don’t trust. Start your relationships off in an honest manner, giving what you promised and always keeping your word. First, make yourself known to your audience and your network, and then build those relationships to the highest level of trust. Always work with integrity!
5. Make Eye Contact.
If you want to form a relationship with clients, make eye contact when speaking to them. Don’t talk to the ceiling, or the walls, or the floor – speak directly to them. You will be surprised how quickly you can set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd by simply smiling and making eye contact.
Build stronger relationships by giving. I don’t mean literally buying business or new clients. If you know a client is sick or going through a difficult time, send an email or pick up the phone and give them a call to let them know you’re there if they need anything. Remember to have a giving attitude and not expect anything in return, except to know that you have made someone’s day.
7. Be Yourself.
You will get much further in life and be so much happier in your business just by being yourself. When doing business and developing relationships be authentic – it will work to your benefit. Don’t brand yourself or your company in a false light – it will waste more time and effort than you realize.
There are numerous ways to build client relationships and many of them tie into each other. Just remember to be kind, be pleasant, and be yourself, and always work with integrity. Remember to treat your clients the way you want to be treated. It’s the Golden Rule – and it’s really that simple.
Wendi offers valuable tips and advice on marketing and growth strategies providing speaking leads, speaker services, and resources that help boost their business both online and off. To learn more about Wendi visit her online at charlijane.com.