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How to Build Long Lasting Business Relationships: Tips from the Pros

Acquiring new clients and customers is one of the hardest, and costliest challenges that businesses face. It also may be the single most important. With all of the effort that goes in to acquiring new clients, it stands to reason that businesses would want to do whatever they can to keep those clients happy. So how do they do it? In this article, we’ll take a dive into some strategies that can help your business build long lasting relationships with your clients.

Let “Bad” Fits Go

“It’s unrealistic to assume every prospect you connect with will be a perfect client fit. It’s also unrealistic to think you can offer the right solution to each client you talk to. Knowing when to go your separate ways is important for both of your happiness.

If you come across a client who you’re not a good fit for, be ready to refer them elsewhere. While it might seem counterintuitive to end a relationship with a client before even getting started, it can actually help build trust—which can pay off later on.

Clients know it isn’t easy to turn away potential business, so it’s respectable when you can admit you’re not the right fit. It also shows that you’re interested in ensuring they get the best work possible––even if it’s not coming from you.

If the client does end up needing your services, or they run into someone in their network who does, that trust will already be established so they’ll be more likely to come back or refer friends, family, and business partners to you.” (via Erica Hayton of Cooper Chronicles)

Agree to Your Commitments Early and Often

“Communication plus performance equals long-term trust.

A good client service provider–in any industry–sets expectations, achieves alignment between their own team and the client’s, and then executes against those agreed-to specifications.

You can’t just set expectations with a single contact and hope for the best–you need to make sure those expectations get communicated everywhere the two organizations touch.” (via Miranda Anderson of Fast Company)

Be Open

“In order to build a strong and lasting relationship with clients, they must be able to trust and rely on you as an expert. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a policy of openness when it comes to your professional opinions and point of view regarding the best interests of the project. It can be tempting to want to appear agreeable and avoid uncomfortable confrontation by telling a client what you think they want to hear or withholding your true opinion about their project.

However, these practices are not only counterproductive, but can also damage your reputation, decreasing your chances of a lasting relationship. By confidently expressing your honest opinions, clients will respect your initiative and desire for excellence.” (via MBO Partners)

Be a Useful Resource

“The more value you offer, the more a client comes to depend on you. Don’t hesitate to share information clients may find useful, whether or not it benefits you in any way. In the same respect, refrain from bombarding them with irrelevant news or gossip, and don’t bother them with offers you know won’t likely interest them.” (via Forbes)

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