The Client Side - Building Strong Client Relationships. How do you do it?

Last week I touched on the subject of building a strong client base and how it is definitely, without question, a relationship thing. Over the course of the week a couple of conversations brought to mind the need to extend the subject to how it is done. Building strong relationships is a process. For me, it's a long term process, but I realize that there are all sorts of perspectives on how to go about this, what traits and what actions contribute to successfully building strong relationships with clients. Here are a few that come to mind for me:

* Let them know that you're there to help when they need the help - In a great relationship you are on the same page as the client. You're able to let them know what you can do for them when the need is there and you're not trying to work them into a deal but rather to be there to work for them when the need is real.

* Say what you mean and mean what you say - You have to shoot straight and when you do, they'll know it. If you can let them know clearly what you mean and do what you say you will do, you'll gain the necessary trust to build a very strong relationship.

* Put yourself in their shoes and understand how they would like you to work with them - All of us in this industry understand what the hiring managers are going through and what they are handling. If you take the time to see things from their perspective and then treat them the way that you would want to be treated, that will strengthen the relationship and they'll want to work with you.

* Stay in contact and let them know what's happening on your end, the good and the bad - Lack of feedback is the biggest complaint we have on this end. It's a big deal on their end too. Let them know if the search is difficult, why, what obstacles you are running into. Or let them know that it's going well and when you expect to present candidates. The better the flow of information at all points in the process, the better they feel about working with you.

* You have to deliver - If you do everything perfectly to build the relationship and are wonderful to deal with, but you don't deliver, then you build a relationship with a friend not a client. I've talked to plenty of clients over the years that won't work with a certain recruiter even though they can deliver, because they can't stand working with them. So you have to have both. For a strong client base, you have to be able to work well with your clients but you have to deliver results.

These are just a few of the points that come to mind for me in building strong relationships with clients. Would love to hear other's input.

Todd Kmiec
Todd Kmiec & Associates

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