Are They Really That Into You?

January 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

In today’s economy the last thing on any business owner’s mind is getting rid of clients, regardless if that client is not a good fit for the company and they never should have signed them up in the first place. Client relationships can sometimes be compared to dating relationships: Do they get me? Are we on the same page? Do we want the same things? Is it all about money?

One of my favorite dating litmus tests was always, “if they treat you badly when you’re dating them imagine how they’ll treat you if you marry them.” The same can hold true for a client relationship. While the saying goes that the customer is always right…and they are…the truth is that sometimes they should never be a customer to begin with.

No one wants to end a relationship, be it professional or personal, but sometimes you have to re-evaluate to determine if keeping it is better for the end goal or not. In business, the best way to develop a good working relationship is to determine and agree up front the ultimate outcome and the process by which it will be achieved before the contract is even signed. This way there are no surprises and you’ll always have something g in writing.

Sounds easy, right? Managing and meeting expectations isn’t always as easy as it seems. You’d like to assume that if it’s in writing and both parties have agreed then it’s a pretty cut and dry process. But what if client expectations change and the reasons you and your client were originally a good match are no longer the same? Sound like dating? This doesn’t mean you automatically throw in the towel and dump them…or vice versa. You hope that the partnership you’ve developed with your client is one that allows you to sit down and set new goals and objectives to get back on the same page to meet new expectations.

Here are key tips on establishing good client relationships:

  • Be realistic in what you’re capable of offering to a client.
  • Don’t make it up as you go.
  • Treat the client as if you were the client.
  • Define the working relationship and set client expectations up front.
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate and communicate some more.
  • Be the example.

If after all of this the relationship still isn’t working then it might be time for a new direction. But at least you know that you’ve been honest and given it every effort to work. The truth is sometimes no matter what you try, they’re just not into you…but there is always someone else who will be!

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