Working with clients: part 3
For those of you who have been following our ‘Working with clients’ series, you already have 14 great tips at your disposal covering project timelines, best practice on projects and establishing great working relationships. In the final part of our series, we look at those extra touches that can help you reach for success.
Whether you are working with external clients, or across a large in-house team, these tips are great reading for all levels.
1. Amp up the civility
Your attitude and general presence will go a long way towards engendering positive working relationships. We all know that stresses and strains from life and other areas of work can put a dampener on your mood, but once you step inside that client / project meeting, remember that this is a fresh experience, and can provide a positive angle on your day.
2. Brand marketing is not just for marketers
We mentioned that it’s great to become familiar with your client’s ethos as a way of understanding their approach, but becoming an ambassador for their company will score major brownie points. Talk them up on social media, connect with them on Linkedin, share important news articles from their websites – you are helping to improve their image and they will remember you for it.
3. Give something ‘pro bono’
We’re not talking about knocking thousands of pounds off of a project budget, but rather the added value elements that take a few seconds to do, but could be potentially billable. If you can afford the time to chat about the project outside of client meetings, then take the 15 minutes to do that.
It will also go a long way towards potentially securing repeat business.
4. Honesty about mistakes
If a mistake occurs, then admit culpability (if there is any) and address how you will correct the error. People are more alarmed by the idea that a mistake has happened with no recourse for fixing it.
5. Become a human Linkedin
In the days before social media, connections were made through meetings of minds and passing on contacts of people who may be able to help. If your client is working on a different project that does not fit with your work (for example, a marketing or advertising project), and you happen to know the person or business for the job, then suggest it. You might have just saved them hours of leg-work!
6. Be wary of verbal contracts
If something is added into a project half-way through, then ensure all additions and changes are updated in all planners and signed off. A last-minute request could add thousands to a project, and it’s important that this is reflected in all documentation. It also avoids any potential conflicts when the project ends.
7. Add the personal touch
If it’s feasible to hand-deliver any work to a client based in the same city as yourself (on an iron key or secure USB!), then think about adding this personal touch. You can make an appearance and also make yourself available for instant feedback. This advice is more pertinent for small companies and practices; just always check that it’s ok to pop round beforehand!