Relationships. We’re constantly thinking about our personal relationships with our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. Haven’t we all taken quizzes to test if a relationship is strong or how well we really know someone? There are tons of articles on how to improve important relationships in your life. But do you put the same effort into evaluating and building work-based relationships—especially those with your clients?
At LMD, we create strong, long-lasting relationships with a variety of regional and national private and public sector clients as well as our partners, vendors, and co-workers using the following guidelines:
- Establish straightforward communications. Make communicating with each other easy. Establish the best (or preferred) ways to reach each other upfront. Set a schedule for regular check-ins; with everyone’s busy schedules, it’s nice to be able to depend on that time to connect. At LMD, we make it a priority to understand our client’s preferences for working with us and their goals and expectations for the projects we’re working on for them.
- Get to know them. Don’t forget to connect on a personal level and infuse a bit of personality into your communications. When you work closely with someone, you don’t always have to talk shop. You may find common ground through similar hobbies, pets, or exciting weekend activities.
- Ask for feedback. This may be the hardest—but the most rewarding—aspect of any relationship. Honest feedback will let you know what’s going right and what needs improvement. Just make sure that you demonstrate that you’re hearing the other person’s needs and will act on their suggestions.
- Engage in multiple ways. It can be hard to establish rapport if you rely only on email. Pick up the phone, conduct in-person meetings in and out of the office (sometimes it’s nice to meet at a mutual location such as a coffee shop), or have video calls.
- Show appreciation. Everyone likes to hear positive feedback and that they are appreciated. Make sure you tell your clients, partners, vendors, and colleagues that they’ve been helpful, done a great job, and you enjoy working with them. Most importantly, tell your clients and partners that you appreciate their business by sending a handwritten note.
- Evaluate periodically. Take time to evaluate your work relationships. They can be hard work but the payoff can be great! Ask yourself:
- Are we communicating on a regular basis?
- Do I understand their goals, work style, and preferences? Has anything changed?
- Have we met in-person recently? Chatted on the phone or done a video call?
- Am I asking for feedback and acting on it?
- Have I sent a thank you card recently?
Are there areas for improvement? Yes, always!
Looking for an integrated communications and consulting firm that you can partner with through a strong, long-lasting relationship? Get to know LMD.