Wearing the Other Shoe: Understanding How Your Clients Think
One integral part of business success is being able to put yourself in the position of your clients. Not only is developing this level of understanding necessary from a marketing standpoint, but it also helps you to anticipate client needs and perform an ongoing self-critique so you can improve and grow your business.
By understanding and addressing your clients’ needs, you will be able to:
- Strengthen relationships with your clients
- Ensure client satisfaction
- Become a valued (and irreplaceable) partner for your clients
- Create a more satisfying work environment
- Align yourself for new opportunities with current clients and increase the possibility of referrals
Getting to Know Your Clients
Even if you think you have a good understanding of where your clients are coming from, there is always room for improvement and ways to get to know them better. To start, consider the following questions.
- Why did they hire you?
- What problem, challenge or need do your services solve?
- What are their business goals and what role do you play?
- Who are their clients?
- What do they want out of a relationship with you?
How to Strengthen Relationships with Your Clients
Just like with all relationships, business relationships thrive when fundamental needs are met. You can ensure you are meeting the most basic needs of your clients by being consistent in five main areas.
Do Great Work
It’s an obvious no-brainer when building relationships that the quality of work you do should be exemplary. If you’re not making your clients happy, it will be virtually impossible to forge long-lasting relationships.
Consistent communication is important in all relationships. You can do this by being responsive to calls and emails, scheduling regular check-ins, sharing company news, and interacting with your clients across social media, if appropriate.
Ask for Feedback
After individual projects or reaching milestones, ask your clients for their view on how things are going. You can take a formal approach by having a client satisfaction survey, or ask them informally during a conversation. The most important step of getting client feedback, however, is having a plan for addressing any concerns or criticisms and being committed to improving the situation.
Rely on Your Expertise
Many times, your clients will welcome and appreciate suggestions on how to do things better or more effectively. Use your past experience and in-depth knowledge of the work to help your clients develop solutions that surpass their initial expectations.
By considering each client relationship as an ongoing partnership, you can move the relationship to a collaborative, mutually beneficial relationship. This focus can make you more successful at building a sustainable relationship instead of simply doing the work and moving on.
How do you get to know your clients better? What do you do with that insight?
Image credit: arte_ram