If you have regular clients who you’ve worked with for a while, it’s easy to forget what it was like in the beginning, when you worked really hard to make then happy and they really appreciated all of the time and energy you put into their work.
Like other relationships, you may get used to receiving messages from them, scheduling their work into your day, and having periodic status calls. You fall into a routine, and it can be a good thing because your relationship just works.
Falling Out of Love
But sometimes, things can get a little too comfortable and turn stale. Maybe you lag when returning their calls, or don’t quite put in as much effort as you once did. Maybe you forget why they selected you over your competition in the first place, and start to take for granted that they will always be there.
If you see the signs of this happening, it may be time to regroup, bring back some of the “new relationship” fire and put a little more focus on their value as a client.
Put on the White Gloves
Every client wants to feel like they’re important, like their work is the most important work you are doing (even if they know that’s not always the case). When you first start working with a new client, you probably put in extra effort to make sure they were getting the white glove treatment. Maybe you responded to all calls and emails the same business day, or turned around projects faster than normal.
Eventually, that kind of attention has to wane because you do have other clients and other work, but you can still give the impression that work coming in from each client is a priority for you. And it’s easy to do by being responsive, giving your full attention when communicating, and providing consistent results.
Get to Know Them
I’m a believer in sharing a little of your personal life in your business relationships. Not only does this foster a stronger connection, but it can also lead to increased respect, new work and a lot of referrals. Plus, it makes for much more interesting work relationships when you add in a “real-life” dimension.
With long-term clients, make a point to continue to learn about them, their businesses and any aspects of their personal lives they share. Something as simple as recognizing a client’s birthday or an accomplishment of their child can have a huge positive impact on your relationship.
Go Back to the Beginning
Think back to when you started working with the client, or even before that when you were in the prospect stage. Why was this client desirable for you? What did winning their work mean for you and your business?
While the relationship may have grown and changed since it started, reflecting on the beginning can be a great reminder of how far you’ve come and reiterate how important it is to keep them happy so you can continue to develop your relationship.
Do you have long-term clients? Do you ever get too comfortable with the relationship?
Image credit: Ambrozjo