You could be a small entrepreneur, an individual marketer, or a small enterprise run by very few people. Whatever your situation, you might be finding it difficult to manage client relationships as you grow and scale up your business.
You might tend to neglect your old clients in your zeal to build new client relationships. Or you might be spending too much time and effort on retaining your existing clientele.
Building client relationships can be a challenge, especially if you are a start-up. But retaining your client base as you look at new territory can often get overwhelming. This is particularly true if you are doing everything single-handedly.
The result is that you won’t have the ability to find new avenues to match your newly enhanced capabilities. Like everything else in life and business, striking the right balance is the key to managing your client relationships efficiently.
As you climb the ladder of success as a marketer or an entrepreneur, creating and building your clientele, a few pointers will help you go a long way.
Manage Your Own Time Effectively
You can efficiently resolve a lot of your problems if you manage your time well. Dedicate a set number of hours per week to client interaction.
Loosely define a range of hours per client depending on each individual. Keep in mind that you also need to dedicate time to your core operations so that you can do your actual work.
Since the time you can spare for each client decreases as you scale up your business, you should concentrate on the quality of your interactions.
Improve your collaborations by investing in online client portals. These will make the communication and transmission of information between your team and your client more effective and secure.
Make it a point before you begin to note everything you need to discuss with your client. Ensure that you cover every important detail in a concise discussion.
Take notes during every discussion so that you do not have to waste your time repeating or reconfirming a point.
But remember never to lose your personal touch while communicating with a client. It is very important to treat your customers as human beings, rather than simply as paying entities.
Building Client Relationships Is a Never-Ending Process
Building relationships with new clients takes a lot of time as you seek to understand each other’s requirements, working styles, and businesses.
Relationship building, in general, is an ongoing process. Try to know more about your old clients as well. Involve yourself more in their businesses, and give your conversation a personal touch.
Of course, some clients draw a clear line between their personal and professional lives, so do not pry too much in such cases.
However, most people are quite open and appreciate general inquiries about their children’s welfare, hobbies, etc. You could even let your clients know about an event taking place in their cities that you think might interest them.
The idea here is to show your clients that you genuinely care about them as people, rather than just as your business associates or partners.
Keep Your Client Records Updated
In the beginning, you might not keep proper records of your clients because you have most of the necessary facts and figures about them at your fingertips.
But it can get difficult to keep a track of facts, figures, transactions, etc., as your clientele grows. Save your memory for more important matters by updating your notes and keeping track of your transactions electronically.
As you scale up your business operations, everything should be available to you at the click of your mouse or a few simple hand-swipes.
Have a system in place that will save time and update client information quickly. A system will do more than just save your precious time and minimize your efforts.
It will also ensure that you do not mess up—or worse, compromise the confidentiality of your client’s critical information. Plus, it does greatly help to have everything open on a screen when you talk with your clients.
Involve and Be Involved
A common mistake many entrepreneurs and marketers make is to restrict their knowledge of clients’ businesses to the area in which they themselves are concerned.
It really helps to understand exactly what your clients do and how your services help them achieve their goals. Study their industries in depth. Know their consumer bases.
Understand how they market their businesses. All of the time you spend understanding your clients’ businesses and industry scenarios better is time you’re investing well!
You might even provide them with value-added services at no extra cost to yourself while strengthening your relationships with your clients.
Another important mistake many small businesses make is not involving their clients in how they do their work. Tell your clients exactly what you do for them.
Tell them how your efforts will help their businesses, and ask for feedback. Communicating clearly will not only help you and your clients understand each other better but will also make your clients feel that you truly value them.