Client relationship is one of the crucial aspects of handling a project. The success of the project largely depends on developing a healthy rapport with the client. Any difference of opinion could put such a development in jeopardy for current and future projects. Therefore, while interacting with any client, it is critical to maintain an open mind and remain composed at all times. Patience in stressful situations will take you a long way and rally the project forward. Utilising your positive energy, knowledge and maturity will help put an end to any awkwardness caused, if such differences arise.
Here are few pointers, which will help you to build a strong relation with the client. These may differ from person to person and from client to client, but the situations generally revolve around the same ground.
Communication is the most important tool of all. Your first response every time you meet your client sets the tone of the meeting. A big warm, welcoming smile and strong hands shake, ushering them to their seats and making them feel at home is essential. This is the time to communicate appropriately and clear the miscommunication, if any. Listening is just as important as putting your point across. Your body language must be calm and take on the composure of a problem solver. Be it verbal or written communication, keep it respectful and to the point. Enquiring about the client’s other inter-ests/recreations can help in keeping the conversation light and fluid, furthering a healthy rapport.
2. Understand the client
Research and study the client and their previous projects to understand your client’s mindset better. So, during discussions if you drop in references to their prior successful projects, your interest in the client and their product will be demonstrated positively. If there is something the client wants but you disa-gree with it, put yourself in their shoes so as to understand their point of view.
3. Be proactive
Participating in activities that involve the client will take you a long way in building a solid foundation for business rapport. Taking an extra effort to be constantly in contact with the client will let them know they are at top in your priority list. Always be prepared for every meeting with notes, doubts, questions or simple clarifications.
4. Client psychology
Understanding the nature of your client, their temperament, body language and perception is im-portant. Your observation skills will play a vital role here. Be sensitive to their expressions – what makes them frown, smile, think, irritable, impatient or elated? Use your observations to make the cli-ent comfortable and open to your ideas and suggestions.
It is human to err. The best approach to face a mistake on your part is to humbly accept it. If by chance it is the client who has erred and you are faced with the escalation talk, make them understand their error in subtle respectful manner. Listen to what the client wants and simply put forward your point. Find an equal ground where you both can meet on and move on to the next issue.
6. Building trust and keep it up
Communication, rapport and good work are some of the key points to build the trust. To sustain this trust, follow it with exceptional consistency. Help your client in achieving success in their project so as to gain maximum trust.
7. Help them
When a client comes to you with a problem, as a consultant you must provide the best possible solu-tion. Help them by providing knowledge about design and the processes, which will make them better understand your way of working and your viewpoint. Also try working on prompt fixes giving the cli-ent quick solutions. Discuss, talk and brainstorm with the client to clarify their mind and help them to be on the path to succeed.
If you want to build a strong and lifelong relationship with your client, follow these points. Much like a marriage, celebrate the ups, support through the downs, communicate, understand and respect them to maintain a healthy and happy client relationship!