When it comes to scaling the success ladder a lot depends on your interpersonal skills and how well you maintain your relationship with the people you work for especially clients. Irrespective of which field of work you belong to managing your relationship with your client effectively is a passive force that plays a key role in your growth as a professional as well as the growth of the organization as a whole. So here we explore a few aspects of client management and give some techniques on how to hit the bull’s eye.
The success of any business depends on two vital aspects: sticking to commitments and managing relationships. While the former depends on technical deliverables, the latter is how well you relate to your clients and associates. This requires professionalism confidence, tact, with presence of mind and good communication skills. Moreover, you also need to be available and responsible. The client is (not) always right and your success mantra would be not allowing him/her what’s in the parenthesis.
The key would be designing a methodology of learning and understanding your client’s requirements and behavior to strengthen the liaison and ensure a long term association. It means striking a balance with your client and convincing that they are getting a good return on investment (ROI).
The first step in effective client management would be building a rapport with your client. Unless you develop a rapport with your client, it is a difficult story. So the initial days play a key role in setting the stage. Remember, in this case the first impression is definitely the last impression. You do not have a second chance whatsoever. So ensure that you strike the right cord in the first few interactions you have with your client.
Moving beyond the formal set-up becomes necessary at times, it helps you develop a comfort level and know the client better. However, you have to know when and where to draw the line. Sometimes clients can get crafty.
There is no denying the fact that you are bound by a contract with well-defined services areas. Although it is important to ensure that you don’t go overboard, there is no harm in suggesting small ideas that can lend a positive touch to the product or service. Think out of the box, study competitors and their processes, identify areas that have scope for improvement and present it to your client. Your ideas could be anything ranging from new business areas to explore a more effective technique to track consumer behavior, improved business strategies, an innovative way to studying market trends and predicting future trends accordingly or use of an updated and better version of a software to simply a minor change in the functionality that can take the business a step ahead. The point is to be proactive and not just reactive. Moreover, this should not be a one off situation; make it a regular practice and suggest ideas in regular intervals. Remember every idea that your client approves will win you a brownie point and perhaps add to your company’s business as well.
Adding value and going a step beyond what you are expected is important. But before suggesting any idea, evaluate and understand that the execution of the idea, if approved, is quite likely to become your responsibility. Suggest ideas that you execute, else it will reflect badly on your credibility. Processes should be in place and functional enough to achieve set goals.
Winning your client’s confidence is half the battle won. Reliability is important confirms a sales executive who handles international clients. Deliver what you promise. Faltering in this area is just not acceptable. So it is always better to commit only what you deliver. To play safe, it is better to commit a little below your actual bandwidth.