Our team spends lots of time talking with clients, addressing their needs, and helping them reach their business goals each day.
We have found that utilizing strategic client communication is beneficial to building solid relationships with clients and closing more sales.
By working to improve your client communication skills you will be more confident in talking with people on a daily basis and, in return, be able to reach your goals faster.
What is client communication?
Strong client communication is the tool needed to build and maintain the trust and understanding required to create long-lasting and profitable business relationships. Client communication usually means talking with clients and addressing their needs with the overall goal of helping them achieve a goal.
Client communication can happen on a variety of platforms and that includes: a real time face-to-face, via email, on a traditional phone call, or maybe even a video call. In order to grow your business, it’s crucial to be available for your clients to ensure their requests are met and they are taken care of.
Why is it important to communicate efficiently with a client?
First, let’s discuss how efficiency will make your communication more effective, and why this is important in business. The way you communicate can make or break the success of a sale or project, and can even affect something on a much larger scale, like your business’s relationship with a customer and possibly its reputation.
No doubt, building long-lasting customer relationships takes time, effort, and consistency, but this is essential for creating repeat customers and a substantial customer database. The best way to show a client you appreciate their business is through a transparent, empathetic, self-aware, contextualized, and flexible communication style. So maybe you’re wondering how you can communicate and maintain those client relationships you have worked so hard to evolve over time. Let’s dive in!
How often should you communicate with a client?
When it comes to client communication you can’t put an exact frequency on the amount of time you should communicate, but keep in mind over-communicating everything in business is always best, and your clients will appreciate it. There will be times throughout your job where it makes sense to connect with your customers to request information, ask for feedback, or clarify a critical detail. These are examples of client communication that happen organically and on their own time. But maybe you’re still wondering: how often should you be reaching out to check in on your clients so they know how important their business is to you?
In addition to these organic conversations, a good rule of thumb in client communication is to always, always set aside time to make at least 1-2 additional connection points throughout the week that are intentional and scheduled on your calendar. If you schedule these client touch points as a recurring event on your calendar it will also keep you accountable to a communication cadence. The weekly updates could be a simple “hello” type check-in or an in-depth follow-up. No matter what, ensure a progress update is discussed on anything that pertains to their business goals and action items completed the previous week. Establishing a communication cadence with your client proves consistency and reliability, and they’ll know they can count on you to get the job done. Dedicating time each week to send updates shows value, serves as a brief touch base, and is an opportunity to communicate and celebrate that you are on track to help them achieve their goals.
Successful people always anticipate the future by asking themselves “what’s next?” Weekly client connections are the perfect time to request any additional details, documents, or information you might need to be successful in completing a project or request. Never miss the chance to get one step ahead. You can do this by strategically thinking about what it will take to fulfill your client’s request in the future. Plus, it will help you to stay on top of your workload and meet your goals! A great quote to live by: ”Do something today your future self will thank you for!”
Best Practices For Effective Client Communication
A few specific elements of communication to incorporate into every client interaction:
Kick-off The Convo with a Positive Connection Point
When you communicate with your client, the conversation should begin on a positive note. The beginning of every client interaction should be centered around the client, whether that’s checking in on their day or week, or asking how their sales have gone so far in the current month. This is the perfect opportunity to connect and show the client that you care about them as a person outside of a business setting. To truly be successful, you must sincerely care about your clients and their well-being because that’s what good people do, and everyone wants to do business with good people.
Meat and Potatoes of Client Communication
Following a connection point, it’s usually safe to dive right into the point of the conversation and ask questions that provide the answers needed to help the both of you achieve your goals. This is where it’s appropriate to address the point of the communication in the first place, ask that big question, and share some good or bad news—whatever communication is needed is free game at this point.
Wrap Up But Keep it Open Ended
Always, always leave the conversation open ended so the client knows you are available and happy to help, because at the end of the day, our clients are our friends. That could mean utilizing a CTA (call-to-action) and inviting them to give you a phone call or asking if they have any questions you can answer for clarity. Never wrap up a form of client communication in a way that shuts the conversation down. It’s very important to keep the communication active and fluid so it’s clear you are only a phone call away!
The 3 Elements Of Effective Communication Strategies
Now that we’ve defined what client communication is, why it’s important, and when it should take place, let’s discuss some strategies and utilize real life examples to help this all come full circle. When it comes to client communication, try to practice the 5 essential pillars: Transparency, Empathy, Self-Awareness, Context, and Flexibility. If you incorporate these 5 attributes into your daily client communication in the field or online in the digital space, you will have great success in achieving your goals. Whether the purpose of the communication is to close a tough sale, gather information from a client, or even request feedback on a deliverable or experience, these strategies are solid gold.
Applying transparency in your communication shows you’re a relatable human being and not just a robot. Transparency in business is the process of being open, honest, and straightforward about company operations. People enjoy doing business with individuals they relate to, and this keeps the conversation organic and sincere. One Forbes study found that 94% of consumers would be loyal to a transparent brand.
You will notice the more honest you are with people, the more they will trust you and rely on you as a resource. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got good news or bad news to share, tell your customers what they need to know, and tell them when they need to know it. Never beat around the bush or hold off on sharing information because it will always come back around to bite you. A few ways to do this include apologizing for delays in communication and always explaining the WHY behind any decision or occurrence.
No matter how effective your communication is, a rare miscommunication is almost still inevitable due to a good amount of client communication being done via text or email. When these situations arise, apologize for any confusion (even if the miscommunication is not your fault) and utilize another method of communication to clear everything up. If the miscommunication occurs via email, call the client to clear it up and then confirm back in the same email thread. It’s no surprise that all clients value transparent communication over any other attribute because transparency is the foundation for all client communication.
Delivering empathy in communication is essential to building any type of long lasting relationship, but specifically client relationships. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Clients are more likely to do business with someone who acknowledges their feelings and makes them feel heard. Try this: think of your client as a team member. After all, it’s your job to work together to solve a problem for them. Whether they need to finance a new vehicle or complete a project, if you view the client relationship as teamwork and implement empathy along the way, you’ll feel more engaged by the work you’re doing for them and undoubtedly achieve a better outcome.
When it comes to client communication, self-awareness is distinguishing and recognizing the roles you play and the role that the client plays in any given scenario. Being self-aware means listening to what your client has to say and letting the insight they provide guide the way you do business with them. It’s all about adapting and finding a way to do business that caters to their communication and business style, but also about finding balance that allows you to stay true to your business practices as well. It’s important to remember that you are the industry professional and that is why your clients are seeking to do business with you. Hearing your client out and being self-aware is important, but never sacrifice or downplay what you know or your level of expertise to please them. Remember: they hired you for a reason!
Utilizing the correct context in client communication proves time and time again that you are an expert at what you do, no matter what that might be. Context defined is the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed. Correct context is crucial for seeing the big picture and assessing a situation clearly with the goal of then using that information to communicate effectively. It’s impossible to offer sound advice or give solid direction to a client if you don’t fully understand the context of what’s being discussed. Demonstrating that you are an expert in your field is important because nobody wants to do business with someone that isn’t confident that they’re accomplished in their occupation. Applying the correct contextualization in conversations can make or break the outcome. Be sure to take a step back and assess the circumstances entirely for context so you are set up to deliver outstanding communication.
While there are many variations of flexibility, workplace flexibility—specifically in communication—is a strategy of responding to changing circumstances and expectations. Offering flexibility in client communication can mean a few different things. You can be flexible with your client’s time or outstanding priorities and deadlines, or even be flexible with different types of personalities of the clients you stumble upon. Maybe you’re even flexible with their budget and try to problem solve for ways to make it stretch further. No matter what, offer flexibility to your clients in communication. This will eliminate them ever feeling trapped or cornered, and allow them to see you as someone who respects and understands them.
The Secret To Communicating Effectively With Clients
Learning how to efficiently communicate with clients in a way that’s effective can feel overwhelming at first, but practice makes perfect! When you make a genuine effort to be more transparent, empathetic, self-aware, contextually minded, and flexible with your communication style, you will notice improvements in client relationships in no time. At the end of the day, take care of your clients, and they will return the favor. That’s what good business is all about.