The consulting business has taught me many lessons. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I take pride in learning important life lessons from business. One of the early lessons I’ve learned – is that relationships are everything. Growing up, I often heard people say “business is cold” and “it’s all about the money”, but in reality – I’ve learned that those statements seem to be far from the truth. How we develop and maintain relationships in business, and in life – matters.
If we started to treat our clients, potential customers and our working relationships with the same effort we put into our life relationships – would we notice a difference? Here are 3 steps to improving the relationship you have with your clients:
Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the details when you land a contract. So much time and effort can go into the proposal, the bid and eventually landing the contract – that it can seem like we care a lot during the initial phase, and less so once the payments start coming in. A great way to maintain a healthy relationship is to set solid expectations, provide regular check-ins and reports, and give feedback along the way. One of my clients recently commented about how happy she was that I had I kept her in the loop, even when we had an unexpected bump. Pay attention the details of your clients all the way through – make them know, THEY matter.
2. Own THEIR Business
One of the initial questions I ask when I start a new contract is – “if I owned this business, what would I do?” Developing a sense of ownership helps me emphasize with a client, and see things from their perspective. I can be result-oriented, and cost-effective – because I see things their way. This also helps me be focused and remember how important my client is. If we can view things from their perspective, we can be certain to focus on the right things. Put yourself in THEIR shoes.
3. Mean what you say
I’ve listened to multiple horror stories from clients who were promised the world, and then failed to receive any results. Since I enjoy a working relationship with every client – relationship is my filter as to how I make decisions. A healthy relationship isn’t predicated on empty promises, grandiose displays and price gouging – it’s built about trust, and dedicated efforts. Remembering how much a client means to me, and the important of that relationship keeps me focused on meaning what I say.