The relational component in business dynamics has always been essential. However, with the proliferation of social media and competition for business on so many platforms, your ability to connect with a client or prospective client is your point of difference. In addition, we need to do so with a meaningful purpose. Doing business “quid pro quo” won’t work anymore; especially at a time when we seemingly do not have enough hours in the day and still find that we are subtly or not so subtly being distracted by annoying spam email and phone or text bleeps. All this noise has made us all the more savvy regarding attempts to build genuine versus phony business relationships.
Here are five quick ways to build purposeful client connections:
1. Pay attention to the personal side of a client conversation. This week, I remembered something a client told me almost a year ago about one of their children and he was impressed when I mentioned it during a phone call.
2. When you reach out to a client, think about the most appropriate way to connect that works for them. Be flexible and put significant thought into the purpose of your letter, call, email or text message.
3. Make an effort to educate yourself and keep current regarding the pressing business issues for your clients. What is “top of mind” for them? By including references to their world and their challenges, you are far more likely to build or maintain the connection.
4. It is tempting to live by Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote: “I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end!” Instead, respect the connection process and the client’s timeframe for decision-making.
5. Teach others and live by example. Regularly remind your team of the human element when answering the phone or greeting a client at the front counter or reception. Otherwise, you may as well install a ticket machine!