Building successful client relationships is an essential part of business and arguably becomes even more important when you’re managing and developing your own interim career. However, client relationships are just like any other, based on human actions which lead to positive experiences.
Here we share 6 tips for creating great client relationships:
- Getting to know you
We know being an interim can be fast-paced, businesses have problems to solve and projects to get over the line and that’s exactly what you’re there to do so whilst of course you’ll be delivery focused it still makes sense to get to know your client if you’re going to build a successful relationship. Whether that’s through a full discovery phase at the start of a project or simply grabbing a coffee with key stakeholders, it’s a move that will show your client that you’re invested in the task ahead.
- Face problems head on
In any work situation problems are going to arise, that’s not negative thinking it’s just reality and client relationships are no different, priorities change and things come up during the course of a project, the key is how you react to these problems and facing them head-on will always be the best solution, demonstrating to your client that you’re unfazed by problems and are willing to provide solutions and strategies to get projects back on track will go a long way towards building the trust and confidence which form the basis of a great relationship.
- Honesty is the best policy
From the start of a project to the end and throughout your client relationship this should always be the case, be honest from the outset about what you can achieve for your client, how you’ll apply your specialist skills and the potential outcomes, this may sometimes mean you don’t get the gig but it’s far better than embellishing and failing to deliver. Consider how honest you’re being with the things you promise can you really return that call? Be honest and realistic about what’s deliverable at all times, and you’ll see your client trust levels soar.
- Trust your experience
It’s the reason you’ve got the gig – you know what you’re doing but that’s not to say that you won’t come across challenges working with multiple stakeholders on projects and it’s here where you really need to trust your experience and push forward with the solution you know will work. For the avoidance of doubt, we’re not advocating you ignore the input and views of others but as an interim you’re there to deliver and navigating these challenges is a clear demonstration to your client that you are focused on the solutions that are right for their business and that’s something which will always evoke a positive response.
- Set goals and expectations and return to them regularly
Have a plan which clearly outlines goals and expectations, your client might not expect this, after all, they’re trusting you to do the job and may not be concerned with the method but detailing a plan of action helps to manage both expectation and provide a point of reference for everyone involved. For the client, it demonstrates you’re in control and instills confidence that at any given time you know exactly what point the project should be at and who should be delivering what to meet the end goal.
- Every client is your best client
Or rather you shouldn’t have a ‘best client’ because every client you work with should receive the same level of outstanding service regardless of business size, your day rate or any other factor. In providing outstanding service you’re showing your clients that you value them and creating a positive experience which could lead to repeat business or referrals for your business and for your clients the invaluable position of working with a trusted partner upon whom they can rely to deliver.
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