One of the best things to have in business is a strong team, but what may not always be obvious is the work that goes into building one. Loyalty and trust isn’t something you can develop overnight, but by putting a little bit of effort into a few small things, it can be a much more natural process than first thought. Here are five key points for strengthening the relationships between you and your clients:
The first step to brand loyalty is having a brand for your client to be loyal to, and attractive corporate gifts are an easy and practical way of making this a reality. Helping your client get their work done with your own pens and stationary can be the perfect way to let them know they’re appreciated, either as a birthday or holiday present, or just to say thanks. Make sure if you’re printing your logo on an item, it’s something they can actually use. Branded lanyards and USB sticks may seem like a great pick, but be aware that your client may already have a drawer full at home.
If you’re meeting in person over lunch or coffee, picking up the tab can be a simple and effective way to let your client know you’re grateful for their time. When time is money (and it is, perhaps even more so than many people realize), stopping work to meet with someone can often be more expensive to them than it seems. Let them know you appreciate the gesture by covering the costs.
A common complaint in business is that often very little interest is given to the people behind the work. Take a moment to actually talk to your client about them, whether it’s their plans for the weekend, their hobbies, or just genuinely asking them how their day is going. Be sure to listen to the answer, and follow up when you next speak to them. This will demonstrate to your client that you care about what they have to say, and are interested in getting to know them as a person rather than a business connection.
So much can be said for a simple, unsolicited ‘thank you’ for your client’s business. While this can be as easy as saying the words, the more time and effort put into them, the more weight they can have. Taking the time out to write a detailed email or even send a physical card can communicate that you appreciate your client and what they contribute to your business.
After listing all of the above, it can be hard to remember to dial it back at times. Not everyone wants to be best friends, and it could even prove counterproductive if your clients start to see you as an annoyance. Know the difference between a personal and a professional relationship and make sure that you’re never toeing the line between the two. Another good tip to remember is to never air your dirty laundry around a client. Having drama with other clientele? Don’t vent to them about it, as it could result in feelings of distrust and leave them wondering if you talk about them with your other clients in return.
By keeping on top of these five little things, you’ll find a lot of them quickly becoming second-nature. These will not only create better working relationships between you and your current clientele, but due to word-of-mouth, improve your future relations too.