No matter what line of work you’re in, you will be most successful when you make your client relationships a top priority.
Nurture your clients with fairness, honesty, empathy, and respect, and they will want to do business with you. Keep treating them this way throughout your business relationship, and they will repay you with their loyalty.
Building better client relationships isn’t always easy. It takes time, energy, and most importantly, attention. You can’t just go through the motions of service or fake authenticity and expect to earn their trust. Instead, all of your actions must be motivated by the sincere desire to serve and delight your clients, and you must do so not only during slow periods but also when business is booming. It’s a full-time commitment that always pays off.
To start building stronger client relationships, try adopting these habits that I have honed over the past 40 years working as a financial representative at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company.
Figure out what integrity means to you and make it the foundation of your work
If you haven’t already given some thought to your core values, do so now. Integrity should be among the values you select, and you must make sure it guides every meeting, phone call, or communication with each client.
Each day ask yourself: Am I continually being honest, working hard, and keeping my clients’ best intentions in mind?
Give your clients peace of mind
Your clients should always feel that you are taking good care of them. You should always be prepared to give them the highest level of service and be able to respond to them efficiently with expert advice.
Create a system that works for your business and allows you to consistently deliver these things. You might do this by updating your project management protocol or setting up a very clear system for communicating.
Take time to learn their needs
Your clients are unique individuals and they want to be treated as such.
During your meetings with them, take time to really get to know their situation and learn what they want to achieve from working with you. Learn their fears, their problems, and their perspective. You may learn something valuable and discover new ways to serve them that you hadn’t thought of before.
Always fulfill your promises
Customers have come to expect a lack of follow-through from businesses today. Therefore, you can build trust by simply by keeping the promises you make them.
Trust is the foundation of a successful business. There are countless big and small ways to keep your word to your clients. For instance, make a point to never cancel an appointment, and never let a meeting run longer than you originally promised.
Pencil in time for nurturing
Periodically devote some time to further develop your client relationships. Schedule a meeting over coffee with a client you haven’t spoken with in a while, or reach out and phone a new client to ask how he is enjoying the new products.
If you’re always checking in and following up with clients, you’ll become aware of any problems they may be having and can find a solution before the relationship becomes strained.
Be honest about what you can offer them
Avoid overselling your services or exaggerating the results you can deliver. Clients will admire and trust you more for managing their expectations, which prevents them from being disappointed later on.
If you realize that you can’t provide what they are looking for, do try to connect them with someone who can help them.
Never sell them something or push a service on them that they don’t really need
You don’t want to waste your clients’ money, so be honest about the products or services that they don’t really need. This is just another way you can serve their best interests.
Remember that you’re not working for a quick sale, but rather cultivating an ongoing relationship. In turn, they will appreciate your candor and trust you all the more.
Keep it consistent
Your clients will always expect the high level of service you have given them in the past, and it’s up to you not to disappoint them!
Make sure that with each interaction, you are living up to your personal mission and goals and upholding your commitment to providing consistently great service.
Don’t try to fake authenticity
You’ve got to truly care about your clients and truly want to serve them. They can sense when you’re “phoning it in” or being super friendly just to win their business. Don’t do those things.
Instead, let your real personality shine and care for them the same way you would care for a dear friend or a member of your own family.
Don’t overly rely on technology
Everyone wants to be more efficient, and technology can be tremendously helpful with that. While it’s often a convenient and practical way to keep in touch with your clients, make sure you use it wisely.
Know when to use email, text, phone, and so on, and when to set up an actual meeting. Plus, sometimes it’s still prudent to actually write a letter.
Focus on face-to-face interactions
It may be impossible to do 100 percent of your business in person, but if you commit to prioritizing face-to-face contact, you are far more likely to get to know your clients.
Spending time together allows for the chats and camaraderie that lead to connection and trust. Don’t underestimate how important this is to relationship building.
Show them that you care
There will be times when you can strengthen your client relationships by showing up for them in their lives.
Once you have built a relationship with them, attend their family weddings, their children’s bar and bat mitzvahs, or other big important events in their lives. Send birthday cards and arrange to meet up for lunch or a round of golf. These friendly and thoughtful interactions build an emotional connection that won’t be forgotten.
Reach out just to say hi
You don’t always need a reason to check in with your clients. Even if you have nothing to sell them, you can get in touch just to see how things are going for them.
Clients appreciate knowing you care, and it gives you another chance to learn their concerns and whether they are having any issues that you can help with.
Don’t abandon your current clients for new ones
Even if you’re swamped with new clients, you must keep giving the same superior service to your existing ones.
Your clients can see that you’re busy, but don’t make them feel as if they’ve been abandoned. Keep reaching out and nurturing them every chance you get.
Engage with each and every client
You can probably nail your sales pitch in your sleep, but that’s no excuse to go on autopilot when you’re with your clients. They know when you’re zoning out on them and will feel less valuable whenever that happens.
Actively engage with your clients at every level of service. This shows them how deeply they are valued.
When you mess up, own it and fix it
Your customers don’t want you to fail any more than you do. So, if you make a mistake, they will likely forgive and forget as long as you make it right.
A heartfelt apology is key here. State what you did wrong, express your regret, and immediately take steps to fix the problem. By doing this, you will retain your client and show them how important they are to you.
Nurturing your client relationships is an investment that will pay off in huge dividends over the course of your career because you’ll be creating clients for life. This can turn around a business that’s lagging, bolster a young brand that’s on its way up, and launch an already successful company into the stratosphere.
Want to find out how far you can go? Earn your clients trust, engage with them, and treat them like family. Then prepare to watch your profits skyrocket.
Posted in Customer Service