The Digital Glue Podcast

EP: 34 - The Ultimate Guide to Client Relationships

September 07, 2021 Episode 34
The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 34 - The Ultimate Guide to Client Relationships
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The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 34 - The Ultimate Guide to Client Relationships
Sep 07, 2021 Episode 34

“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” – Clare Muscutt

 

Welcome to Episode 34: The Ultimate Guide To Client Relationships

We’re baaaack …. with some more “untangling” Digital Glue podcast episodes for the last quarter of the year. We had some time to ponder during our mini summer break. And we wanted to start with a few episodes about something WE ALL deal with every. single. day.

CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS!

Whether in your day job (hopefully you’ve left there by now and migrated into the amazing land of entrepreneurialism) or working in your own business, have you ever run into a slump of working with the “wrong” people? 

Clients who don’t understand your personality? Value your traits or expertise? Take you for granted? Expect you to be available on all devices at every hour of the day? And just plain ‘ol drain you emotionally? 

These pain points can be a real downer. 

And sometimes make one wonder … why even bother? (*le sigh!)

I could sit here all day and share all of Virtually Untangled’s client “horror stories” with you from over the years -- and many more from my time in the land of 9-5 -- but then this would turn into an award-winning novel (HaHa!) instead of an “untangling” podcast episode. So instead, I am going to take the hard-earned lessons from those stories and share some details alongside a list of the greatest tips you will ever need to know in order to help you find your dream client(s). And ease those nasty pain points of the ones who aren’t.


Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • How to figure out WHO is your dream client
  • How to start email relationships on the right foot
  • How to set clear roles and responsibilities
  • How to set clear working boundaries

 

Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

Show Notes Transcript

“Building a good customer experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” – Clare Muscutt

 

Welcome to Episode 34: The Ultimate Guide To Client Relationships

We’re baaaack …. with some more “untangling” Digital Glue podcast episodes for the last quarter of the year. We had some time to ponder during our mini summer break. And we wanted to start with a few episodes about something WE ALL deal with every. single. day.

CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS!

Whether in your day job (hopefully you’ve left there by now and migrated into the amazing land of entrepreneurialism) or working in your own business, have you ever run into a slump of working with the “wrong” people? 

Clients who don’t understand your personality? Value your traits or expertise? Take you for granted? Expect you to be available on all devices at every hour of the day? And just plain ‘ol drain you emotionally? 

These pain points can be a real downer. 

And sometimes make one wonder … why even bother? (*le sigh!)

I could sit here all day and share all of Virtually Untangled’s client “horror stories” with you from over the years -- and many more from my time in the land of 9-5 -- but then this would turn into an award-winning novel (HaHa!) instead of an “untangling” podcast episode. So instead, I am going to take the hard-earned lessons from those stories and share some details alongside a list of the greatest tips you will ever need to know in order to help you find your dream client(s). And ease those nasty pain points of the ones who aren’t.


Here's what we will be untangling in this episode ...

  • How to figure out WHO is your dream client
  • How to start email relationships on the right foot
  • How to set clear roles and responsibilities
  • How to set clear working boundaries

 

Are you ready?
Pop in your awesome earbuds and let's dive in!

We’re baaaack …. with some more “untangling” Digital Glue podcast episodes for the last quarter of the year. We had some time to ponder during our mini summer break. And we wanted to start with a few episodes about something WE ALL deal with every. single. day.

CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS!

Whether in your day job (hopefully you’ve left there by now and migrated into the amazing land of entrepreneurialism) or working in your own business, have you ever run into a slump of working with the “wrong” people? 

Clients who don’t understand your personality? Value your traits or expertise? Take you for granted? Expect you to be available on all devices at every hour of the day? And just plain ‘ol drain you emotionally? 

These pain points can be a real downer. And sometimes make one wonder … why even bother? (*le sigh!)

I could sit here all day and share all of Virtually Untangled’s client “horror stories” with you from over the years -- and many more from my time in the land of 9-5 -- but then this would turn into an award-winning novel (HaHa!) instead of an “untangling” podcast episode. So instead, I am going to take the hard-earned lessons from those stories and share some details alongside a list of the greatest tips you will ever need to know in order to help you find your dream client(s). And ease those nasty pain points of the ones who aren’t.

Ready?

Let’s go …

First, you need to figure out WHO your dream client is. 

You need to know exactly who you are trying to attract before you even attract them. I know it is quite common (and tempting) to just want to appeal to a wide market, especially if you are just getting started. But this is not a good move. 

Think of the key traits you would want in someone if you were hiring them. These are the very same traits you want to have in your dream client. Now, pull those reigns back a bit, figure out who you are in your business, what you offer, and the personality types you want to work with that fit nicely with yours. Write them all down and keep them nearby as a handy reference for moments when you are second guessing if the “fit is good”.

 

Be yourself. ALWAYS and COMPLETELY. 

This is extremely important if you want to attract like-minded individuals who actually enjoy your personality, share your interests and passions, and value not only you and what you have to offer but your time as well. Then embrace the opportunity and show your real and true self. Quirks and all. 

In the end they will either love you or hate you for it. And once you know how they feel and how you interact with one another on a more personal level, you will clearly understand whether to move forward or run frantically in the other direction.

 

Collaborate with others online. 

By doing this you will be able to get your business name out there and people will have a face (and brand) to remember your business by. It is also a great way to share your skills as well as the time and effort that you put into your business – and of course who you are as an entrepreneur. 

Start by collaborating with others who share a similar niche or have complimentary skills and who are established in the business-world. In other words, make friends with like-minded business individuals. Sounds scary … I know but this is a must! 

Another great way to collaborate with others online is by joining some Facebook groups. Try to search for groups that have similar interests and then interact within the group. Whatever you do, DO NOT PITCH YOUR STUFF unless asked or on a promotional theme day. People hate that. You want to add to the conversations in the feed and do not stomp on anyone else’s parade. Not be a sales-y Sally 24/7.

 

Get personal. Think old school … not digital. 

Think paper and pen … not email or social media. Send a current client (or even a great past one) a personal note or postcard to let them know you enjoy (or enjoyed) working with them. Ask how they are doing. Let them know what you have been working on lately. Share your stories with them.

 

Share valuable content and resources. 

People love to learn and if it doesn’t cost them a penny, they are more likely to reach out again when they need a paid service. So, try posting tips, tricks, new programs and hot new apps to your social media pages. Also, if someone asks you a question, why not cover the answer in a fun post on your site, podcast episode or social media platform. If you are answering your ideal client(s) questions, chances are that there are more ideal clients searching for exactly the same thing. 

Doing small things like this makes you more visible in the business-world. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Make yourself visible and share your talents (all of them!) with the world!

Help them decide if you are a good partnering choice by making things clear and concise on the “About” page on your website. 

Add some personal flare and whatever you do, do not make everything written in “business terms”. Once again, be yourself. Let it all hang out!

Another added tip to helping them with their decision (remember, you want to be the solution(s) to their pain points) is to include some testimonials on all your digital spaces. People love being reassured when they work with those who have great results from others -- and to hear it in their words, not yours.

 

I absolutely love being an entrepreneur. I can work from anywhere and have the pleasure of making my own schedule. I am finally boss-less! But, once we move past the honeymoon phase with our clients, we can sometimes come across some levels of uncertainty (my team and I like to call them “pain points”) because those bills certainly do not pay themselves.

So, whether it’s a loyal customer who has supported your business for a long period of time or a new client who has just discovered your business and is already telling their friends, family, cat, and even their neighbour “Karen” about you -- the relationships you build are essential to your long-term growth and success.

Living in a modern day-in-age with such powerful online channels, if done effectively -- you have the glorious ability to communicate with your clients, your audience, influencers, and well pretty much anyone that tickles your fancy, in more ways than ever before! It’s kinda great!!!!

So, that being said, here’s that list I promised you … a few simple tips for “keeping things real” with your dream clients …

#1. KEEP DOING MORE OF WHAT’S WORKING.
Think to yourself … 

  • How did you get your last great client? 
  • Was it a referral? 
  • Who made the referral? 
  • Did you ask for it or did he/she recommend your awesomeness? 

Now, take it even one step further … 

  • How did you get your last five good clients or projects? 
  • What are five places those new clients found you?

Your chances are high that you can dig up repeatable process from all of this.

 

#2. START EMAIL RELATIONSHIPS ON THE RIGHT FOOT.
Email will always play a crucial role in building good, long-lasting relationships for your business. But before hopping on board with this, you must first determine whether your client even likes email in the first place. It’s easy to assume it is everyone’s default, but this is not always the case. 

If email is the chosen way of communication, then make sure to be responsive. Now, I am not saying you must be glued to your inbox 24/7 -- 365 days a year, but your client should never have to wonder if you are going to get back to them. By the time they are asking that question, their trust has already started to erode. 

Lastly, keep it brief, be organized and stay friendly. If you are consistently sending them long, rambling emails or “forget” the important details (remember to read and re-read before you hit “send”) or do not bother to make things a bit personal by acknowledging a few personal details of their life you are just going to wade yourself into a brick wall and perhaps even lose them as a client. Trust me, the extra thought and effort will pay off in the form of client trust.

 

#3. TREAT YOUR CLIENTS LIKE PARTNERS.
Your clients are the lifeline of your business. They are not your enemy nor your boss. You want to treat one another as an extension of the team, not as an outsider. So, try to get not only them but their whole team involved. It will help when it comes time for project work plus, they may all have truly great creative ideas to help you land your client’s needs on time and in style!
 
 

#4. SET CLEAR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
Just because your new client may have worked with an agency or freelancer before, it doesn’t mean they know how to work with YOU and YOUR business. 

You may do things differently than what they are used to -- and vice versa. So, when onboarding, explain to them how to best work with you and what they can expect from that process. And from you, personally.

Let them know who the main point of contact is, what they can expect from deliverables, what will be presented and when, what forms of contact you prefer (or allow -- *ahem!* boundaries) and the process for providing revisions – or any other items that may be relevant to your business. 

Timelines and expectations are extremely important. If you think about it … the clearer the ground rules, the smoother the process.
 
 

#5. SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES.
While you wear many hats as an entrepreneur, setting boundaries can not only save you time but they will safeguard your personal life from sinking into everything business. Setting clear boundaries will allow you time to do the “work” you need to do and take the time you need think of how you can grow the business. However, setting boundaries during the initial phase of onboarding a new dream client can sometimes be challenging -- and feel kinda scary -- since your main focus is building a client base and portfolio for your business. You don’t want to deter people based upon how you run things. But you also don’t want to set a precedent for people to take advantage and walk all over you.

Here’s a few clear expectations we like to set, right from the get go …

  • What we offer alongside how our pricing options work -- since we’re kind of a virtual buffet of offerings and packages to suit everyone’s needs.

  • How we prefer to communicate -- we are all about a few select places to keep things organized and running smoothly. No DMing, texting or unannounced phone calls allowed. If communication gets shot in different directions things tend to get missed, lost or possibly even forgotten. So, keep things simple.

  • What our virtual office hours are -- we are not machines, and we are not our business. We need quiet time during work hours to get things done so we are unable to be glued to our inbox or Zoom rooms at all times. But we always ensure our clients know they will receive a response in 24 hours or less.
     
     We also need time to work on our business too – otherwise how can we best help the client get “untangled” if we’re all tangled??

     We also have “unplug” hours (which in our case is evenings and weekends) so we can focus on self-care and virtual detox in preparation for the week to come.

  • What our strengths and weaknesses are – we’re not a guru at everything even thought we’d love to be. We have offerings of “secret sauce” (which are things we LOVE to do and are an expert at) then we have offerings of “virtual sauce” (which are mainly VA related) then sometimes we have to say “no” as some things we don’t have full knowledge to confidently take on or things that don’t bring us joy -- and we don’t do (or make anyone else on our team) things they don’t like or want. And to some, this may seem like silly talk … But business dreams are built on passion, and if one isn’t passionate about something, there’s probably a better fit with someone who is.

 
 Don’t get me wrong, we’re always willing to learn new things and new platforms, but sometimes, the “thing” just isn’t what we do. 

And lastly …

  • What we expect in return. We are not the client’s CEO. We do not (unfortunately) read minds. And we don’t not own their business. But we’ll do everything in our strengths and virtual power to “untangle” #AllTheThings and run things if they want or need us to. This relationship is a two-way street. No if’s, ands, or buts about it.

 

No matter how amazing your relationships is, it will not last if you do not continue to deliver outstanding service and results on an ongoing basis. Being consistently excellent is honestly the smartest marketing strategy of all.

 

Just a quick note before we head on back to our own virtual “untangling” world …

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we will be diving into client relationships a bit more, but in a different sense than we shared today … the shamefulness of ghosting and how to deal (or recover) in episode 35 -- next Tuesday -- and “Client Rules You Should Break” in episode 37 -- in a short few weeks.

Those newbie episodes coming your way, combined with everything we shared with you here today, should ease those nasty pain points of dealing with clients in the land of #AllThings virtual (hopefully only for some of them, and that not all your clients are causing you grief and stress wrinkles!). We’re in high hopes the upcoming “untanglings” will keep you on your toes, feeling mighty fine and exceptionally confident to take on the world again!

Because after all … that’s why we became entrepreneurs in the first place! To build our own dreams, before someone else hires us to build theirs!

 (Unless your business is like ours where our dream building solely focuses around building the dreams of others!)

No matter what you do, what you offer, where you live and work … push your business to the next level by prioritizing your client relationships and make them the HEART of your business.