Written by Anna Bernstein on 01 Apr 2014
In the B2B sector, your ability to build lasting relationships with your clients is crucial. Understanding what makes a client relationship strong will not only help you keep clients happy and loyal to you; it will also improve your ability to win new clients! Client relationships, like any relationship in life, are built on some very fundamental but vital factors. Learning and understanding these will help you succeed in building strong relationships with your clients.
Yes, just like you did as a loved-up teenager, you must put in the groundwork before you even attempt to form a relationship with a new client. In the B2B sector this means research, knowledge and understanding. Spending time to get to know potential new clients before you approach them is a great way to get a new relationship off to a good start. Learn as much as you can about potential new clients. From their history, to their products and services, all the way to their values and visions; the more you know and understand about potential clients, the more comfortable you will be discussing the possibility of a relationship with them.
A relationship is a human connection, so it’s important that you are human in the way that you start, build and maintain any client relationship. You will know yourself that business is a bumpy ride, so by adopting a human approach you will show your clients that you understand and have their best interests at heart.
These are four human emotions that translate extremely well to the B2B sector. Displaying these characteristics as you build your client relationships will only further strengthen the connection.
Transparency is the key when it comes to relationships. For trust and loyalty to grow, you need to be transparent in all you do. As well as trust and loyalty, your clients will respect you for being transparent. Keep clients informed and up to date at all times and level with them when problems arise.
Like anyone in a relationship, clients like to feel valued. It is therefore important that you make them feel like your most valued client at all times. Ensure you always provide your clients with your best service. Be quick to act on their needs and requirements and do so in a way that shows you care.
Going above and beyond is also a great way to show that you don’t just see clients as a number, but that you generally have an interest in helping them succeed. This will be remembered and may even lead to additional business further down the line.
At the core of every strong relationship is the ability to communicate. Without good communication, relationships weaken and break. For this reason it is vital that communication flows well in both directions.
Take steps to ensure that your communication process is streamlined and optimal. Your client needs to know that you are always within reach should they need to contact you. On the other hand, if your client is showing signs of weak communication, level with them; be transparent and show that you are willing to help them improve so that you can both benefit from a stronger level of communication.
The heart of good communication is the ability to confide and share.
As you work on the strengths listed above your client relationships will grow and flourish through mutual trust and respect. Never get complacent or relaxed. By continuing to practice and develop the advice given in this post and you will find that your clients are not only happier, but that they stay with you.