Oh how you remember the pursuit! They just came off a failed relationship and were not ready to trust. You fixed the little things first. The knight in shining armor with all the answers. Once you earned their trust, you planned a bigger future together. You can still remember how they used to look at you when they were there to support them. You made each other better. Of course, I’m talking about maintaining client relationships.
Now, well, it is different. You make time for each other once a week and it feels like you are going through the motions. The long conversations turn into distracted, multitasking interactions. They spend more time interacting with others on social media, people you’d rather keep their distance. They even had coffee with their ex, “just to catch up.”
Well, it is Valentine’s season and it’s time to get the spark back! After 16 years of President of professional services companies, I learned a few ways of continuing to date your clients. Here are some of my best tips on maintaining client relationships:
Keep Them On Your Mind
When you first land a new client, you may wake up thinking about a new program for them. You see a headline on a tabloid at a grocery store reminding you of tactics you want to test. Over lunch with a colleague, you think “wait, we can use this new tactic to help the client”. You are mowing the lawn and suddenly realize the answer to a problem they are trying to solve. You let the client know that you’re thinking more broadly about them and they are grateful.
Once your communication comes down to a task list and a weekly call, you know it’s time to reassess. Make a deliberate effort to be more in tune with the client’s needs. Take the time to think about their most significant challenges or opportunities. Especially when you are away from your desk. Sometimes that’s when the best ideas arrive.
Do The Little Things Right
Misspellings on deliverables, late agendas, unanswered emails. All these little things add up and soon the client is questioning if they are even a priority. Step back and make sure you are taking care of the details.
Maintaining a client relationship in the longterm can not be done if you can not get the little things right. It causes doubts on if you can get the big things right.
Get Some Together Time
Remember the time you went to that conference together? Or you met up at that local networking event? Or you grabbed coffee? Those are the times that build connections and trust outside of the terms of an annual contract. I love spending time with our clients. I always leave feeling energized. We solve tricky problems that you can’t solve over Zoom or email. Inevitably, the conversation turns to topics like hobbies, families and funny stories from college. It is important to remind each other of our own humanity.
Maintaining client relatinships is important because they are still relationships. If you fall into complacency that great client will become an ex-client. Now is the time to commit to getting that spark back. If you are looking to break up with your current vendor relationship, the experts at Futurety Digital want to chat.
Oh and if you have not bought anything for your real significant other, the clock is ticking!