Marriages can be hard. They take time, work and humility. But if you put your whole heart into them, you can usually maintain a successful, meaningful relationship. The same can be true with running a small business. Just like personal interactions, client relationships need to be nurtured and developed . And when you build healthy client relationships (even with the pesky clients), it generally equates to a successful business. In essence, you need to build a marriage to all of your clients. Married to the clients? Yikes! For those thinking this sounds like a large feat, here are three steps to building blissful relationships with clients, which will also keep your business out of divorce court.
1.) Building Rapport: This is the dating phase. When you begin dating someone, you pull out all the stops to impress them. You have to show them you are loyal, trustworthy, and the best fit. The same can be said when building a relationship with a client. You have to court your client and prove that you provide the best services for their needs. Make sure your credentials are transparent so they have something to judge you on, and share your experience and qualifications.
2.) Communication: You are now in the full-fledged dating phase. Things are good, but in order to maintain the harmony, communication is key. Having an open line of communication will make clients feel comfortable and assertive, creating a better experience for both parties. After all, people have bad days, and you are not a mind-reader. The more you get to know about your client, the better you will be able to serve them. Asking for feedback about your services also provides vital information for improving your business and your relationships.
3.) Details: You have now built a healthy relationship, but like most things in life, relationships need maintenance. Your husband or wife remembers when you buy flowers, or cook a nice dinner for them, and the same is true with clients. No, I am not suggesting that you send your client chocolates, but I do recommend offering little perks that they would not get from other service providers. For example, if you are a fitness instructor or yoga teacher, provide complimentary water bottles. Keep track of customer birthdays and send a card with a special offer on that day. Little things help you stand out from the competition. Details really do make a difference.
And all this effort will have a payoff. After all, people get married to experience love and happiness, and the same is true for your business. You do what you do because it is fulfilling, and having healthy client relations only adds to that satisfaction.