Your relationship with clients – be they hiring managers, financial controllers, or CTOs – should be exactly that: a relationship. One founded upon a shared need, a well-earned professional reputation, and a mutual respect.
The problem? Cultivating such relationships can take years, even decades. The best sales professionals, from Recruiters to Software salespeople, position themselves as indispensable allies, whose opinions are not simply tolerated but actively sought.
Maybe you’re a seasoned worker looking to refresh your technique. Or maybe you’ve just completed your training only to find yourself perplexed when navigating client connections. Whatever your level of experience, these 3 quick-tips will instantly up your game:
1. Routine is your friend.
Studies show that 52 minutes of hard work followed by a 17 minute break actually enhances performance and focus. Divide your day into easy-to-tackle units interspersed with short breaks, and you’ll find that you’re not only more productive, but that you’re developing more consistent relationships with clients. Repeat these units from day to day, and you’ll be sowing the seeds of a long-lasting work routine.
Crucial to your success is “daily management” – a period of time, usually in the morning, dedicated to taking stock of your open accounts. This is an ideal time to reach out to clients and collect feedback or address growing concerns.
Remember: whenever you connect with clients – as part of your “daily management” or for regularly scheduled updates – it’s important to reserve a period of time for less focused discussion. Not everything has to be about a specific order or a particular deal.
In fact, if you’re working Business Development, your discussion shouldn’t always revolve around any one account. Instead, practice actively listening to your clients’ needs, reflecting on on-going trends, and gathering intel about their long term goals.
2. Always manage expectations.
Your relationships are built on trust, and trust needs to be earned. Transparency is your greatest weapon in this regard; no outcome will be perfect, and it’s important to convey that fact to your client. Having done so, you can confidently pursue the process, your client well-aware of the entirety of the situation.
Likewise, you should be constantly mindful of your own expectations. You want to be a partner in this process, and that means evaluating yourself by the same standards you do others.
3. Client needs > your wants.
It can be a devastating disappointment if, after months of dedication, a client decides to go in another direction with an account. But to focus on a single unfortunate event is to lose sight of the bigger picture.
Clients appreciate someone who can immediately bounce back from apparent rejection; someone who enthusiastically offers feedback and valuable market knowledge, notwithstanding the less than ideal situation.
To this point, it’s important that you always follow up. No matter how short or inconsequential the email – even if you’re receiving a mass message, sent to hundreds of other people – respond politely and add value whenever possible.
Try this: respond by linking to an article that is relevant to your client’s interests. Or ask about a topic you discussed in your last call together. Even offer market insights based on your interaction with others. Anything that showcases your active, attentive listening will make clients feel understood, appreciated, and loyal.
To your clients, you don’t want to be just another salesperson; you want to be a valued resource and dynamic partner. Such a relationship does not develop overnight – it requires time and concerted effort. Follow the above tips and you’ll be well on your way to establishing lasting connections where it matters most.
About the author:
Associate Partner, Proven Recruiting
As an Associate Partner at Proven Recruiting, Caitlin and her team place talented Technology professionals in meaningful careers.
A seasoned sales veteran, Caitlin has been awarded for her work in SaaS sales. Her background in Business Development has provided her with a unique insight into the client relationship. More recently, she made a transition to recruiting in order to further her passion of helping people in achieving their career goals.
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