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Business or Personal? Building Long-Term Client Relations

Client relations have a lot in common with personal ones. When you meet someone you are interested in, you will unconsciously work towards building a new personal relationship with that person. Similarly, when you win a new customer, you are automatically committing to a new business relationship. The main difference here is that a business relationship needs more time and patience to materialise. Mutual respect is an essential component of this process. To get the best results, you need to trust your client and your client needs to trust you. 

Client relations are serious and should be treated accordingly. Your customers pay for your services or products and in exchange, you have to meet their expectations. Most of the time, the better you do our job, the happier the client. 

However, if you have no empathy and only discuss work with your clients, they might feel disconnected, even if you deliver the perfect product or service. Studies show that customers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value as opposed to those who have no emotional attachment. Below are 4 tips to help you build long-lasting client relations. 

1. Establishing a Solid Foundation

The first step to building successful client relations is to approach your customers with a light and friendly tone every time. Try your best to be the conversation starter and don’t jump into work right away. When you meet new clients, it’s important to let them know who they are working with, not only your brand but the person behind it as well. Introduce yourself, ask them about their day, about their occupation, common passions or anything you can do to connect with them on a personal level. Remember, the idea is to build a long-lasting relationship and the first impression is essential.

2. Pay Attention and Really Listen to Their Needs

Difficult clients are everywhere and you need them. If your clients take up all the conversation space, don’t fight them. You will only get on their nerves and chances are, you will lose valuable leads. Instead of proving a point, pay close attention to what they have to say even if they go off-topic. Better to take notes even if they are not directly relevant to your business. 

To give an example: a customer starts talking about his dog and how much he likes him. This information is irrelevant for both you and your business and serves no purpose whatsoever. Nonetheless, this is a good opportunity for you to bond with him on a personal level. Think of it this way: you have a new conversation topic to start off your next meeting. If you ask him about his dog, you will open the conversation on a personal tone, potentially taking your personal relationship to the next level. Suddenly, the supposedly useless conversation you had just transformed into a powerful communication tool.

3. Creating Clear Boundaries

Building personal client relations might prove tricky in some situations. Overdoing it is not good either. If your customers become too friendly, your business relationship might suffer. You need to maintain the correct balance between the personal and business relationship you have with them. 

The best way to approach this matter is by setting the correct boundaries between you and your clients. You need to be able to say “NO”, without busting a nerve. This is easy to do if both you and your customers are aligned with the working terms from the beginning of your relationship. Here are a few simple points to keep in mind: 

  • Always sign a contract before providing your product or service
  • Outline all the points your clients need to know when working with you
  • Make sure they confirm they are ok with the terms before anything else
  • Clearly ask them if they have any exceptional wants or needs
  • Don’t make exceptions for any client unless you really need to
  • Be honest, but don’t go into too much detail
  • Always double check before confirming anything

4. Be open to change

Your client relations will constantly change as you move forward. It’s essential to pay attention to this process and take notes on how your relationship evolves. Based on your observations, you should work on new communication strategies to keep things fresh and your client interested in your brand. 

This sounds all sophisticated, but in reality, you just need to keep an eye out for some small, important details. For example, you can ask yourself: Are my clients listening to what I have to say? 

If the answer is no, then you need to work on a different communication strategy. You could have the perfect ideas, but if you can’t get your clients attention, they are useless. Obviously each person responds differently, so there is no fixed formula to address this. The best you can do is to observe and adapt – be open to change.   

Conclusion

Building meaningful client relations will not only add value to your brand but will also open up new communication channels for future business opportunities. Next time you meet a client, think about the tips above and who knows, you might even make a new friend. 

Do you need advice on how to properly connect your brand with your clients? Reach out for a free consultation.