The benefits of investing in your most promising and substantial client relationships are clear: engaged clients are more likely to embark on a genuine relationship path, they are more likely to use you for other services (and in other jurisdictions), they are more likely to refer work to you, and they can act as powerful ambassadors for your brand.
Why is it, then, that I still get asked questions by some of the smartest people I know about how to really develop relationships?
Relationships are, in their simplest form, just the way in which we interact with people. Yes, that interaction needs to be based on a few key principles and grounded in some common values, but it is not rocket science. It’s not like we are surgeons performing a life-saving operation.
Or is it? If we don’t open ourselves up to scrutiny (like a surgeon opens up a chest) and probe sensitive areas like how we currently work, our core ‘health’ and identify what’s going to help us achieve our goal (like removing a diseased part of a lung), how can we engage properly with our clients? Like a skilled surgeon, we need to know our own business as well as that of our clients. We need to be able to talk about common ground, anticipate what the future holds and agree the best way to keep us both healthy.
Now, excuse me while I go and scrub up for my next operation…