I want to write today about building strong, lasting relationships with clients.
A client relationship is kind of like an emotional bank account: by putting time, effort and good will into it, the balance of the account grows, reflecting the increasing trust between the two parties. A healthy balance on the client account means that both parties are flexible, any miscommunications are quickly sorted out, and the potential for increased services goes up.
If, on the other hand, the balance is zero with a client, there’s no flexibility and the relationship is like a minefield: every action is scrutinized and there's an increased risk of a blowout that leads to losing the client.
In my agencies, I can see a big difference in the relationships with clients where I make an extra effort to make emotional deposits, versus the ones that I haven't made the time to give them extra love and attention beyond the services we provide. It's no coincidence that the accounts that get more "extra love" from me are the ones that bring in the most revenue to the companies.
On the other hand, the accounts that I neglect feel like they are one mistake away from us getting fired by them. Even as I write this article, I'm convicted of the neglect in the emotional investment in those accounts.
As Christian entrepreneurs, we must understand the importance of showing up as Christ in all of our client relationships and doing more than just the service we promised, but also the service we provide on behalf of God.
God first entrepreneurs provide two services: the actual service and the emotional service. This is the key to building strong, lasting, and growing relationships with clients.
So how can we grow our emotional balances with our clients? What does the Bible have to say about building strong lasting relationships?
In the book of Galatians, it says,
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
This passage highlights the importance of displaying characteristics such as love and kindness towards others.
While the concept of making deposits in the emotional love tank of a client may not be directly mentioned in the Bible, the importance of showing love, kindness, and compassion towards others is a central theme in the Christian faith - and it's the #1 purpose of why God has given you the opportunity to interact with clients in the marketplace.
To some clients, we are the closest thing to God they will know.
Ways to Deposit Into Client Relationships
A deposit into a client relationship could be, for example, finding a win-win solution, sticking to promises you’ve made or really listening empathically to the client's needs.
A withdrawal, on the other hand, would be fighting for a win-lose solution, breaking a promise or only half heartedly listening to your client.
To build strong, long-lasting relationships, there are several major deposits you can make:
always keep promises
be explicit about what you expect in the relationship
be courteous and sensitive, even in seemingly small matters
Another major deposit is maintaining the utmost personal integrity. I put together an entire Business Bible Study called Conquering Integrity in Business because that's how important integrity is. Integrity in business means being loyal to clients, and never bad-mouthing them or revealing what they’ve told you in confidence to other clients. This will prove to clients that you can be trusted.
But perhaps one of the most important deposits you can make is really trying to understand your clients, because this deposit allows you to discover what’s important to them – and thus which things they consider deposits.
By following these principles, we can build strong lasting relationships with our clients - God's way - based on trust, respect, and service.
Imagine if all of our client relationships had healthy emotional love tanks! How much more satisfying would our work be? How much more impact could we have for the Kingdom? And….how much more revenue would that translate into our business?
That's how God's economy works when we do business, God's way. 😉
P.S. If you do happen to make a withdrawal from a client's emotional account, pluck up the courage to apologize sincerely. It takes strength of character to do so, and clients are usually more than happy to forgive a repentant sinner.