Strong Client Relationships 

I used to want my clients to like me. Now I make them fall in love. It doesn’t happen by accident — this is all about strategy. After the initial investment that brings clients on board, you enter a blissful honeymoon phase where everyone’s happy. Resist the temptation to rest on your laurels! Before your clients’ eyes start to wander, do something proactive.

Here are three rules to live by when it comes to maintaining strong client relationships.

  1. Merchandise!

You never want your client to think, “What are we paying for?” If you do PR for yourself on a regular basis, they never will. Before a client even asks for an activity or results report, you should have it ready to go. I give mine a new spin by merchandising our work to date. Putting your projects in context this way helps clients better understand how what you do on a daily basis is paying off.

Be factual, but remind them of the value that you brought them. And if you’re really smart, you’ll develop the report in a way that they can share internally — helping them do their own internal PR while doing yours as well.

Remember, the name of the game is to help them achieve their communications objectives and, even more importantly, make them look good in front of their boss and peers. On top of that, sharing your reporting is a great prelude to my second tip.

  1. Fresh Idea Always

After you’ve shown your clients what you’ve accomplished together, start conversations on where you’ll go next. Mapping out possible futures gets people excited, especially when you’re bringing new ideas to the table.

One real attention getter is to walk your clients through case studies on what their main competitors and parallel industries are doing. It’s a casual way to talk about possible roadblocks and how to overcome them. Plus, we get to draw out lessons from what competitors are doing right.

Heard about a conference they should attend? Tell them! Identify how they can push themselves, and how you can help. This is the perfect time to refresh strategy without having to wait for your clients to bring up concerns on their own. You also might hit on exciting ways to expand your scope of work.

Now there is a fine line. If you know your client doesn’t have additional budget, don’t try and get blood from a turnip. If these new ideas will help them look like rock stars, propose shifting existing scope to support the new idea or couch it as something to plan against once budgets are back in play.

  1. Be Obsessed with your Customer

Your clients have no reason to leave when you’re more invested in the business than they are — something I’ve been proudly accused of many times. If you sense that their eyes are wandering, figure out why. Try to better understand them and their industry so you can identify their needs, including which needs you’re not meeting.

Success in client services is about constantly strengthening yourself and your client relationship. Just like in your romantic life, you need to put in the effort to keep your client’s eyes from wandering.

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