How to build long-lasting client relationships
How to build long-lasting client relationships
Building long-lasting relationships can be challenging; with so many competitors and external factors affecting how we work with one another, you must prioritise your client relationships. 76% of B2B buyers say that trust and credibility within a salesperson is what they look for when purchasing.
Communicate effectively and consistently
Communication is key when it comes to maintaining client relationships. Consistently communicating will build a strong connection between you and the client over time. Client projects can get busy and cause communication to decrease; this can become a problem further down the line and negatively impact the relationship you are building. It’s a big priority to communicate throughout the project process so that your client feels involved the whole way through.
Understandably, your priority is the project, and you may need more time to communicate regularly. Still, you must find the time, as this shows the client that their project and satisfaction are essential to you.
Treat your clients as individuals
Although it’s important that your relationship with a client is solely professional, it’s just as important to view them as people and not just a paycheck. Of course, it depends on who the client is and how often you are working with them, but simply ask them how they are doing, or if they have recently been on holiday, ask how that was, etc.
A closer relationship with a client provides many benefits for yourselves and them; there’s more security, you can have confidence that the client is not going anywhere, and they feel secure in knowing that you are going to meet their needs and expectations.
Share knowledge and expertise
For your clients to feel connected and a part of a project, they want to feel knowledgeable about the process. Ensure that you share your expertise; this will build trust between yourself and the client. 76% of B2B buyers say that trust and credibility within a salesperson are what they look for when purchasing as they are a part of the process and fully understand the ongoings of every step.
Exceed their expectations
Exceeding client expectations is an excellent way of building a strong, long-lasting relationship; just make sure you don’t oversell yourself and promise something you cannot achieve. Instead, provide them with realistic and reasonable expectations; this way, you can meet their needs and impress them if you go further. Impressing your clients results in them coming back and not going elsewhere.
Showing appreciation is highly important in all relationships and is just as important in the professional world. In the same way, employees want to feel appreciated, and clients do too. Reward clients with a gift or even a card to thank them for their services at the end of each year; something that small can go a long way.
But, on the flip side, you also want your clients to appreciate you. Going above and beyond can work well in many cases; going that extra mile, they didn’t expect can grow their appreciation for you. Communicate with them and understand their preferences and what they value the most; from this feedback, incorporate it. Listening goes a long way; if your clients prefer having a weekly update, include that in your process.
Collecting feedback is guaranteed a benefit when building relationships with your clients and ensuring longevity. You can collect feedback through quarterly catch-up calls or through surveys. Direct feedback from your clients is the best way to understand precisely how they are feeling and whether you are meeting their needs; from this, you can improve and provide them with the best service possible.
Some clients may sit with problems and want to refrain from speaking up, so reaching out for feedback provides them with a comfortable space to share anything they are unhappy with.
Benefits of long-lasting client relationships
Increased business opportunities
Strong client relations will provide you with more business opportunities. Clients with positive experiences will trust and value you, refer you to others, and continue working with you.
A better understanding of their needs
The longer you work with a client, the more you will understand their needs and want down to the finer details. Understanding a client’s expectations and how to satisfy their needs is a great benefit. The projects will become more accessible, communication will improve massively, and you will continue to please your clients, preventing them from going elsewhere.
Improved problem solving
As time goes on and you continue to work with your client, you will soon begin to acknowledge the unique aspects that were once problems, but now you understand and have solved them before, they are no longer issues. The longer you spend working with clients, the more you will be exposed to issues and have no choice but to solve them; this benefits you as going forward, it won’t be such a shock when faced with a similar problem.
Collaboration becomes a straightforward process when your relationship with your client is robust. Working alongside someone you get along with makes the process more efficient and the output higher quality. Again. Clients and employers want to collaborate with people with whom they align, so focusing on building solid and long-lasting relationships with your clients prevents them from going elsewhere but also increases productivity within your employees.
The key to successfully building long-lasting relationships with clients
Long-lasting relationships with clients take time, patience and, most importantly, understanding. There will be times when both parties are faced with conflict, but it’s crucial that you understand their needs and make time and effort to meet them. Trust is the foundation of a loyal relationship with a client; ensure that you are transparent and provide consistent communication.
What is the most important item to maintaining a good client relationship?
The most successful client relationships are built on trust, realistic expectations, and open communication. Fully understanding their needs, goals and pain points will bring both parties closer together.
How can I manage my relationship with my clients?
You may have an established relationship, but that doesn’t mean you can now sit back; you must also manage this to maintain it. You can manage your relationship by:
- Checking in frequently
- Ask for feedback
- Set expectations and meet them
- Own your mistakes and learn from them
- Consistently communicate transparently
How can I build my relationship with difficult clients?
Occasionally, you may encounter some challenging clients and need guidance on how to approach them. As tough as it may be, you must hear the client out and understand what may have happened (if something has), or, if they are simply difficult with no reason, respectfully set some boundaries.
Some ways that you can manage a difficult client:
- Avoid the fight-or-flight response
- Use your active listening skills
- Hear them out and try to form a solution
- Understand their needs, goals and preferences
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