As service-based business owners, it can be hard to develop great client relationships. Especially when we’re working so far away from each other.
After all, you could have clients that are on the other side of the world. So there are no coffee shop meetings, in-person contact, or likely, any small talk.
So to create better client relationships while you’re remote-working, there are a few things you can do. That I’m going to highlight in this article.
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How to create great client relationships
As I said, creating a great relationship with your client while you’re remote-working is hard work. Crafting the right balance between the professional and the familiar is tough.
So here are a few things you can do.
Determine what kind of relationship they want
You might have really good intentions. You want your new client to get to know your shining personality because it means that you get to work better together. In fact, by getting to know you, you think your client will stick with you for the long-term, and you’ll have a client for life.
I hate to break it to you. But most of the time this simply isn’t the case.
Clients outsource or take on help because they want to see results in their business or in life. They’re not in it to make friends.
While you might be a great person and your personality and work ethic might make it more enjoyable to work with you. That’s generally not why they pay you.
Having said this, some clients genuinely do want to know the ins and outs of your life to make you a valuable member of their team. But these clients are magical unicorns and they’re very rare.
So, to avoid being overly familiar with your new client, it’s important to determine what kind of relationship they want with you.
How to know what kind of relationship they want
Generally, your new client will determine this from the get-go in how they communicate with you.
- Do they request a phone call every time?
- Do they want to only talk via email or do they want a video call?
- Then while this communication is happening. Do they ask you questions about your day or your life?
- Or do they get straight down to business?
Pay attention to these cues because they’ll determine what the client wants, and then all you need to do is reciprocate.
Don’t be deterred by a client who only wants to talk business. This doesn’t mean they’re going anywhere.
Clients want you to make their life easier. So if a client would rather skip the small talk in favour of getting business done. By, delivering on this, you’re saving them time.
On the flip side, if the client wants to get to know you. Making sure you’re a valuable member of the team, and that you stay in the loop. By delivering on this, you’re making sure that their business is the best that it can be.
Ask their preferred communication method and stick with it
You can have your own preferred communication method (mine’s email by the way). But if your client prefers to use something like Slack or talk over the phone, then you’re going to need to get on board.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of working with clients remotely. If they don’t feel like you’re communicating well, they might not know that you’re getting work done. Then, they might question if they’re going to keep working with you in the future.
The simple way to avoid this is to ask them how they prefer communicating from the get-go.
This can either be done when you’re pitching your services or after you’ve signed them on. By asking your potential client how they prefer communicating, you’re signalling that you’re there to help them and make their life easier.
Determine how you’re going to check in with them
Once your preferred communication method is set with your client. You’re going to need to determine how often you keep them in the loop.
As I said, communication is everything. So while you’re working on a project, how can you keep your client up-to-date? And how often should you contact them?
This can be determined by:
- The type of relationship your client wants with you
- How they want to communicate
- And how much time they have
The last thing you want is to send daily updates to your client when they only really need to hear from you once a week.
The easy way to determine this and to let your client know is to set a communication schedule upfront.
While discussing your services, or once you’ve booked your client, let them know how often you’ll be in touch. Then match this with their preferred communication method that we determined earlier.
Leave this open and ask for their opinion. They’ll let you know if they think this is too often, or if they want to hear from you more.
Great client relationships aren’t built on gift-giving or friendships. Instead, they’re built by understanding what your client wants from you and delivering on that.
So tell me in the comments, do you have any tips on building great client relationships?
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