For those of us in the PR industry, it is very important to maintain and enhance our relationships with current clients. Developing these connections make our tasks more satisfying and effective, because clients want to know that they matter and are more willing to cooperate if they feel as if they do.
Making sure these relationships work is what keeps us in business, and here are some topics to look at when improving your interactions with clients.
Always be transparent and honest
As the professional consultant, you have to say ‘no’ if the client is asking for things that are not in his best interest or that are beyond your capabilities. In this situation, it is important to explain the reasons for not accepting the project and to suggest alternatives. But beyond the no’s, also be willing to say yes. When something comes up that is beyond your comfort zone, be open to taking the extra strides to make it work – if it could mean something big for your client. The more work you are able to secure for your client, the more valuable you will become.
Get to know your clients better
Learn the client’s interests. Knowing that they like Italian food or enjoy playing tennis is information that could lead to better relationships. You will likely be spending many hours with and around the client during a project, so make it a point to learn something new each time you meet. Once you do learn something new, keep track of the information so that you can use it whenever relevant.
Ask more questions
There are no dumb questions; with each enquiry you are able to better understand the client’s observations. This will also help you to keep track of your performance and understand client expectations regarding a specific project. The art of questioning is very important in PR for building trust and credibility.
PR consultants should be able to offer solutions for challenges that a client is facing. The more problems we can help them solve, the better. Sometimes our activities allow us to see things from a different perspective, which can be very helpful to the client. Sharing these ideas may even help clients solve problems before they even exist.
Keep it professional
While it is crucial that we build relationships, we also need to be diligent in keeping our professional distance in order to continue to provide effective advice and expertise. This means understanding your part and communicating this role to the client. The client will appreciate your honesty and will gain respect for your professionalism.
Staying focused on the contract and on what you promise to deliver is the best thing you can do to maintain and build your client relationships. Talk about the progress of deliverable and deadlines in your client meetings. By delivering what you promise, when you promised, you build credibility and enhance your relationships.