The success of small businesses largely depends on the relationship you have with your clients. Happy clients will remain valued clients for the long haul. Cultivating a good relationship with clients is a great way to ensure that you have a step up on any current or future competition.
In order to change your B2B company from a simple vendor into a trusted partner in the eyes of a client, stick to the following steps.
- Step 1 – Be patient. Building these types of long-term relationships takes time, just like any other partnership or friendship. Rather than going in guns blazing with your entire workforce behind you singing the “Best Friends” song, sit down and take a minute to get to know your client. Share a little about yourself as well, but do not expect to be BFFs by close of business Friday.
- Step 2 – Do great work. No amount of personal connection will replace great work. Learn as much as you can about the client’s industry, and what kind of niche they fit into. A better understanding of what your client does, and what they hope to achieve will help you do better work, which is the foundation of a great client relationship.
- Step 3 – Treat every client like they are your favorite client. It’s not too complex an idea to understand: happy clients that feel special are more likely to remain clients. Not only that, but they are also more likely to refer another potential client to your business. Cha-ching!
- Step 4 – Always be looking to the future. While being a great fixer, and promptly dealing with current issues is a great trait, showing clients that you are thinking ahead is better. End every meeting with your clients by summarizing a few “next steps” for them. This will let them know that you are invested in the continued growth and success of their business.
- Step 5 – Start going the extra mile. After you’ve been working with a specific client for a while, you will undoubtedly start getting a good sense of what they like and the direction they want to take their own company. Maybe they want to take a stand on a particular issue; whatever it is, there will be times when an opportunity arises in which you can really show that you want to help them achieve those goals by doing a little extra. Do that a few times, and you’ll have won a totally loyal client.