Signing a new client is one of the greatest joys of solo life. There were other suitors, but they chose you. As you embark on those bright and shiny new client relationships, it’s hard to imagine the luster ever wearing off, but it can and does. In this post we share 5 easy ways to keep stoking the flames to keep love alive.
Set clear expectations. A healthy relationship requires both parties to be on the same page. If you and your client are not aligned on expectations it will lead to conflict. Beginning with the proposal you want to ensure that you have uncovered and confirmed what your client expects of your relationship. It is well worth it to spend time getting to know the client before entering into a long-term relationship. Why are they seeking PR? What will success look like for them? Are there any hot button issues? How do they like to work? [Use our prequalification questionnaire to help you gather information in your initial discussions.]
Communicate. Communication is essential in maintaining a healthy relationship and it is not limited to words. Verbal and nonverbal communication can reinforce the positive aspects of your client relationship. Articulate progress to your client and always check to ensure that your results align with their expectations.
Quickly address and resolve conflict. A client may not always tell you something is wrong but you can sense when something is off. Ask the client if there is anything else that you could be doing to support their efforts, or if there is something you can do to improve the PR program. This opens up an opportunity for dialogue and allows you to gently probe to get to the source of the tension. It may have nothing to do with you.
Speak their “love” language. It’s important to understand your client’s motivations and speak to them in a language that is meaningful. For example, if your client’s language is financial and you never include numbers or metrics in your communications, you risk them feeling dissatisfied.
Keep the love alive. Relationships progress over time and can become stagnant. Don’t let things become stale with clients. Infuse fresh ideas into your work and keep seeking ways that you can delight your existing clients. Bring the same energy and enthusiasm to existing relationships that you do to new clients.
Client relationships should not be taken for granted. Tending the relationship is as important as doing the work. Not every client account will last for a decade or more but the individual relationships can survive the engagement and even take the love and you to a new organization.