Client relationships are crucial for all marketing and communications agencies, as well as all businesses. I continuously work to build strong client experiences that consist of transparency and trust. As a fitness instructor, I have come to realize the things I keep in my mind when coaching students through a high-intensity pilates class are the same things I keep in mind when building a relationship with a client.
Every agency (or fitness studio) is unique.
Each student that walks through the door of a fitness studio, eager to start working but also anxious about the work ahead, has a different motivation for being there and a different goal. Not to mention, they have their reasons for picking your fitness studio over a competitor’s. Perhaps it is the small class size, the equipment you have available or the knowledgeable instructors.
The same rule applies for other businesses. Although each client is looking for results, their motivation for working with you and the goals they want to achieve are different. Even if your company serves a specific type of client, like technology startups, it does not mean all technology startups have the same motivations and goals. Each client, no matter how alike they may seem on paper, is unique. Treating clients with a one-size-fits-all approach won’t get you very far.
The strategy behind the work is just as important as the work itself.
Ever attend a fitness class where it seems like you are going through exercises that don’t correlate to one another or connect back to an overall fitness approach? Can you imagine taking a yoga class without any flow? Sound frustrating? It is. Needless to say, clients want a strategy behind the work, too. In our case, we could execute media outreach, draft contributed articles and write countless blog posts, but if all of the work does not tie back to a specific strategy it’s meaningless.
Being respectful of client’s time is a game changer.
Nobody wants to attend a fitness class that takes hours out of their day. Well, clients don’t want to chat for hours before getting to the point of a meeting. Their time is valuable and by recognizing and honoring that, you will gain more respect. Make sure you are running productive meetings. They don’t always need to hear how the sausage is made. Have a lot of items to discuss? Prioritize, and focus on those priority items at the start of a meeting in case your client gets pulled in a different direction.
Accomplishing goals is a priority.
Students are not going to continue to come back to a fitness studio if they are not seeing the results they want. Similarly, clients won’t want to continue a relationship with your agency if they aren’t seeing the results they are after. As you work towards specific goals, check in with your team and client on a regular basis. Keep them informed of your work and if your goals need to shift. Again, transparency is key. If that media placement you’ve been waiting for isn’t going to happen, let the client know why and how you are shifting focus.
Though we hope you are not working up a sweat at your company, we know building strong client relationships takes a lot of work. Keep these four key items in mind to help ease the process.