Building positive client relationships is the key to the success for any business. However, when you run your business from home, the way you go about building these relationships may look a bit different than it would for a more established organization or in-office environment.
While it may take some adjusting for maximum effectiveness, it is possible to build positive client relationships while working from home. Here, seven members of Young Entrepreneur Council discuss their best tips for doing so.
1. Be Transparent About Your Remote Status
The best advice I can give to any person who is working from home is to be transparent about it. It’s easy to think that your clients will see you as more of a professional if you seem to be working from an office location, but people understand the realities of pandemic life and work-from-home life. If you have a child doing their homework in another room, or you know you might be interrupted during a meeting, let people know ahead of time. There’s no need to hide. In fact, being upfront can open up the relationship to more than just business. After all, people do business with people they like and trust. So being able to share personal stuff can go a long way. What’s more personal than your home life? – Nathalie Lussier, AccessAlly
2. Set A Systematized Routine
Create a systematized routine for engaging, networking and following up with people. Oftentimes, people wait until it’s too late to build relationships. When professionals develop a habit of engaging online with people they know, this can lead to positive outcomes such as referrals, as well as improving business acumen. For example, if you dedicate 60 to 90 minutes a week to checking Facebook or LinkedIn and connecting with specific peers and reading their content, you’re making an effort to build relationships. Additionally, making time to schedule Zoom chats or join peer groups can improve your soft skills. When you learn how to follow up with contacts and peers by making a list or by using a project management tool, you’re one step ahead of taking thoughts from your head and creating a system. – Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss
3. Go Above And Beyond Expectations
There’s no right or wrong tip here, but just go beyond what is expected. Each client has different attitudes, needs and expectations. Aside from doing what’s in the job description, offer to work on other things you know you’re good at that will also make your client happy. Better yet, have the initiative to do something that your client doesn’t even know you’re good at. Go above and beyond their expectations – Daisy Jing, Banish
4. Focus On The Work And Not The Time
I think the best tip for building positive client relationships while working from home is to make sure that you are focused on your work and not the time. Many people who work from home struggle with this because they start thinking about how they missed out on social time or how much they would have liked to spend more time with their family. By focusing on your work, you can stay in the zone and avoid these thoughts. The next tip for building positive client relationships is to make sure that you are communicating with your clients as much as possible. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
5. Maintain A High-Quality Client Experience
Many businesses are thriving even when in-person meetings have turned into Zoom calls and signing deals has moved from ink to a digital signature. This is because the fundamentals haven’t changed, and the same applies to building positive client relationships. The best tip is to maintain a high-quality client experience no matter where you are working from. Clients want you to be available and responsive to their needs and deliver. Call your clients regularly to see how things are progressing, as keeping in touch virtually will help replace the “visibility” of customer care that came with in-person meetings. Ensure that you can control your products and services from home so that you can still be as responsive and provide the same high-quality client experience even from afar. -Maria Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Take Notes To Build Client Profiles
Stay positive. Take notes during your meetings and build customer profiles. If you hear your client lives in Miami, take note of that. The next time you have a meeting, you can start with, “Good morning! How is sunny Miami today?” The client will feel welcomed by the fact that you remembered details about them instead of just what time you had a meeting together. Ask questions. The first two minutes of a call should be getting to know someone. People do business with people. The more details they provide you, the more they feel invested in that relationship, and if you can note down all the details, it will also help you truly get to know them and build a solid relationship around them as a person and not another boring screen call. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo
7. Set Up An Impressive Environment
Even now, don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting and a good backdrop. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean your workspace needs to look homemade. Invest in a ring light, a decent camera or microphone and have some sort of interesting and not-distracting backdrop. It’s hugely noticeable when you’re talking to someone who took the time to create that setup! Where appropriate, let your counterpart know you are fully checked in and that they have your undivided attention. We all know it’s too easy to multitask online, and it’s nice to feel like you’ve been prioritized. – Pokin Yeung,Big Box Labs