We’ve all had one (or several!) clients who keep us working late into the night. Here are 18 ways to help manage their expectations.
- Identify the stakeholders: Understanding the role your clients’ have within their organisation, such as their level of importance and sphere of influence, makes it easier to understand their needs and what impacts their decision-making process. Knowing their pain points will definitely help you manage their expectations more easily and effectively.
- Set goals: It’s really hard to manage success if you don’t have a strategy in place from the start. Explain your methodology to themand how you’re going to reach the goals. Set a timeline, showing them what you’re going to achieve and then do your damnedest to stick to it.
- Understand their budget: Provide detailed quotes, monitor how much you’re spending and stay within budget. When the job is done, provide invoices that are clear and easy to understand and don’t include nasty hidden costs that haven’t previously been discussed.
- Be transparent: Be honest, have guidelines and boundaries in place that are easily understood, and talk to your clients about both of your expectations.
- Be responsive: Stay connected, respond to their emails promptly and keep them informed at every stage of the process.
- Face-to-face contact: Phone conversations and emails only go so far in maintaining and building great client relationships. Meeting with your client regularly helps to deepen your connection, keeping them engaged and ensuring you and your business are top-of-mind.
- Listen to them, but hear what they say: Understand what they really want from you. This sounds like a given, but what it really means is listening carefully to their requests – even if these seem to be coming in a constant stream – and understanding their motivations.
- Know the challenges they face: Accommodate these with the services you offer. It could be technology you use in-house that helps solve their problems or individuals and organisations you partner with that can provide them with services they would struggle to find elsewhere.
- Build trust: Do what you say you’re going to do and let them know ahead of time if circumstances are likely to change.
- Don’t be a ‘yes’ person: Your client is paying for your skills and knowledge. If you think they are suggesting something that could prevent you delivering positive results, don’t be the shy retiring type – speak up and make recommendations that you know will work.
- Build detailed reports regularly: Reporting enables your clients to understand the impact you’re having on their business. Highlight your achievements in weekly or monthly breakdowns and make recommendations for areas where they could see improved results.
- Be innovative: Come up with ideas that will save them time, money and resources.
- Use your connections: Your personal branding can help grow your clients’ audience and promote the work you’re doing for them. Post, like, share and retweet their articles.
- Educate them: Your client needs to understand how you will achieve your results and what’s involved in the process. This is particularly relevant if it the process is new to them or if it will take you an extended period of time to achieve the results you’re aiming for.
- Teach your team: The relationship you have with your clients should be seamless, so make sure your team is kept up to date with the work you’re doing with them and that every touchpoint they have with them is a positive one.
- Be consistent: Be professional at all times, especially when you’re under pressure of deadline.
- Go above and beyond: Under-promise and over-deliver. Be conservative in your estimates, so you delight clients when you exceed their expectation.
- Be helpful: Send information, links, events and so on you think will help grow their business.
You’re on their side
Your clients are trying to achieve results that make them look good in their own organisation and – if they’re a founder – will help them drive a solid return on investment. Having an in depth understanding of the boxes they need to tick will help you navigate even the trickiest of relationships.
Are you a founder who is experiencing challenges with your client relationships? Rare Birds can connect you with a mentor who can help steer you through the maze of uncertainty, which may be creating problems for you and your co-founder.