Do you want to build strong relationships with your clients and take your business to the next level and create a deeper, more intentional brand? Well you have come to the right place!
I remember a few years back in my early days as a photographer, I showed up to a photoshoot and as I was getting out of my car this client comes running up to me and hugs me. I was slightly taken off guard because I had never met this person before in my life. Our only prior communication was through email and social media.
After she let me go she said “I’m sorry I hope that wasn’t weird but I just already feel like I know you so well and that we are going to be friends”.
In that moment, I knew that I was doing something right. After that it seemed like similar situations kept on happening. I would meet clients for the first time who said they felt so comfortable with me because of how I presented myself online.
Those same clients would be the ones who referred me to all of their friends because I was able to build this strong relationship and connection with them before we even met.
I have gotten a lot of questions over the years on how I was able to grow different sustainable businesses and it all leads back to growing a strong relationship with my clients. In this post, I am going to be teaching you the ways I create lasting and impressionable relationships with my clients and customers before we ever meet, and even after we are done working together.
If you are someone who feels like they struggle to get those word of mouth recomendations, or who wishes they could work with clients that feel more like friends, you are definitely going to want to keep reading.
Building strong relationships with your clients is an essential part of growing and maintaining your business. But it can be difficult to know exactly where to start. A lot of business owners can be conflicted on what the boundary should be. How far is going too far between a professional relationship and a friendship?
I’ll admit I have probably crossed the line before. Clients would start out as simply paying clients but we hit things off so well, and would hangout outside of photoshoot time and pretty soon it turned into this awkward “well, now I can’t charge them because we are good friends”.
And I know, I know, of course friends should still pay and most of mine are willing too. But I know you know where I am coming from on this. I have had to learn what my boundaries are and how to stick to them. How to create friendly relationships that are still client based and professional.
Have A Solid Customer Service Experience
Your customer service experience begins the moment someone inquires with you. And a key element to strong relationships is making sure you are going the extra mile from day 1. Something that is going to set you a part from everyone else is the time it takes you to respond. Getting back to any customer inquiries in a timely manner can be the difference between them booking with you and someone else.
Another thing you want to try and do right from the beginning is to try to anticipate customer needs. In my initial email response back to inquiries I try to cover as many FAQs I can without being asked. This is going to put you in a position of authority and show clients that you are an expert in your industry.
If you are just getting started in your business and maybe don’t have a ton of clients under your belt to know what FAQs might be in your industry, there are a few ways you could take some good guesses.
The best resources for this are going to be Pinterest and the good ol’ Google machine. Literally go to either of these platforms and type in the search bar “questions to ask you (insert what you do).
You will stumble across different websites, blog posts, articles that all have suggestions for what a client should ask someone like you. Use those bits of information and add the answers into your email.
Not only will doing this save you a lot of time from having to answer the same questions over and over again but, like I said, it will make your clients feel like they can totally trust you because you have such a handle on things.
Create An Environment Of Trust And Respect
Make sure to be honest and transparent in all your interactions with them and give them the opportunity to make suggestions and provide feedback. Even not so great feedback. Sometimes I think the best way to handle a negative experience with a client is just making them feel heard. Even when you feel like you did nothing wrong, just listening to ho they feel can make them change their perspective on your business and less likely to leave a negative review.
Communication is key, so make sure to keep your clients updated on any changes or new developments in your business. You can do this individually or in a mass email through your email list OR even send one out on HoneyBook!
Under Promise, Over Deliver
A great way to build strong relationships with your customers is to show them that you are willing to go the extra mile by providing additional services and an experience that feels totally customized.
Notice what I said there. It feels customized but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. You want to make your experience consistent with what you are giving everyone else so that there is a level of what to expect from you. BUT if you can do little things to make them feel special and unique, that is the cherry on top.
Don’t forget to thank your customers for their business and let them know that you value their continued support. A simple hand written card or thank you note goes much further than you might think.
Instead of just writing a thank you email, mailing a card to their house can feel extra special and kind. And they will be way more likely to recommend you to their friends because of that small gesture.
It is important to remember that building strong relationships with clients does not happen overnight, and requires consistent effort and dedication on your part. You have to be willing to take the time to get to know them and make them feel heard and special. Not just like some other date on your calendar.
By following these tips, I promise you are well on your way to building lasting and successful relationships with your clients.
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I'm Sarah Elrod
I'm a Cowgirl turned serial entrepreneur.
I'm a horse trainer, western wedding photographer, business coach and ranch wife.
I help women in the western industry grow thriving businesses from rural America.
When I am not strategizing new marketing tactics, you will find me riding my horses, cuddling my cattle dog, or kissing my hot husband.
There is also a good chance I am buying way too many outfits from western boutiques.
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