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Remember Your Relationships

Ryan Bryant on July 28, 2017

Remember Your Relationships
With any customer-facing business, quality of service is hugely important. Making sure our customers are taken care of is the most significant part of our day-to-day work here at Levant. And as you can imagine, our project management team looks for inspriation and information from a variety of sources to ensure we're doing the best job possible. One significant resource has been The Art of Client Service: 58 Things Every Advertising & Marketing Professional Should Know by Robert Solomon. Even though he specifically gears the book toward advertising and marketing professionals, he provides some great tips for anyone in sales or those who work directly with their clients.

"You cannot lead an account from your desk," Solomon writes. "It is almost impossible to spend too much time with your clients. If you lack a specific reason to see your clients, create one." Do you make an effort to get a lot of facetime with your clients? Even though smartphones and emails make our work more convenient, it's rarer and rarer to encounter professionals who work face-to-face with customers and potential customers. It's a strategy we employ at Levant by meeting weekly with our website clients to ensure that not only the projects are on track, but also to check in with them and keep their needs met.

When meeting those client needs, however, Solomon argues it's a must to manage client expectations from the outset of a project. If you're unclear on something early on, it could become a huge problem when you're nearing a critical deadline, hurting both the project and your rleationship with the customer. And hurting the relationship is catastrophic and difficult to recover from. As he argues in the book, business is about relationships, and a great relationship allows great work to flourish. If you fail to nurture the relationship, you're making life harder for both yourself and your client, which is the opposite of your intent.

Weekly meetings are a great way to maintain a relationship, manage expectations with your clients, and stay on top of your work. But remember to "be brief, be bright, be gone." Odds are, your clients have more important things to do than spend tons of time deliberating a project. A little planning ahead can cut down on meeting times, especially if your client already has clear expectations for the project, where it is, and where it's going

Being more authentic and upfront with a customer can reap serious rewards, so make an effort, but be yourself. The stereotype of the sleazy salesman exists for better or worse, and you should do everything in your power to defy that stereotype. Be real, be honest, and do your best work. And remember: when it comes to your clients, don't be a stranger.

For more info on Robert Solomon and his excellent book, click here.

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