How to Relate in Client Relations

You know that awkward moment that COVID-19 has created when you meet someone and you’re not quite sure what form of greeting they’re comfortable with? A handshake seems taboo now, and a hug even more so. A fist or elbow bump might suffice. A bow might be the smartest, but Americans might not be ready for that yet.

I think client relations are a lot like that moment, but stretched over days, weeks, months and sometimes years. When I first approach clients, I adopt the most professional personality in my repertoire, “Dear John Smith, thank you this, thank you that. Sincerely me.” From there, it’s anybody’s guess what the relationship becomes. The first meeting is a little like a first date, both sides skeptical yet optimistic of each other. Palms may sweat a little bit. Maybe a joke is made or a common interest is discovered and everyone relaxes. I’ve had clients who I consider friends and clients who have stayed just that — clients.

I believe the most important thing to remember in client relations is that the client is a person. That’s a cliche, but it’s the best way to put it. Approach them with the utmost respect, be accommodating, respond quickly, and be confident in your ability. Good communication is the foundation of successful relationships.

People notice when you’re nervous and they can tell when you’re sure of yourself. Know that you’re in the position you’re in with the client for a reason. That reason is somebody smarter than you trusted you to do a job and believes in you. Your chances of succeeding at a task are always dictated by the belief you have in yourself.

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