The way you handle yourself in the presence of clients can determine whether they would want to do more business with us, or ask someone else to handle the next account or project. In a general sense, you want your clients to like you. With that being said, the last thing you want is for them to feel like they have to deal with having to work alongside you. A good relationship with a client, especially in marketing, can go a long way. From more productive meetings, to clearer lines of communication, getting on a client’s good side should always be a priority.
Here are some ideas on how to behave during clientele meetings.
Listening is Key
If your client is sitting in front of you, whether it's in person or via video call, listen to what they want to say first. Unless they ask you to talk about something first, let them speak first. This will give you a feel of what the person is like, how you should respond, and so on. For example, if they’re a bit more social, they might open with small talk and touch on traffic or recent events. Others might cut straight to business. This will give you a hint on what language to use with certain clients.
The Name Game
Addressing clients can be tricky. A professional should never come across too inexperienced. For clients who are in their mid-20s to their mid-40s, ask if you could call them by their first name. If they agree, then with all confidence, just stay casual with their names. If it’s an older client, stick with miss or mister and their surname. If you use ma’am or sir too often, they might treat you like just another underling. Keep the playing field equal.
Light Bulb Moments
Never keep a good idea from the meeting, unless you aren’t sure about it, like when you have an idea but you want don’t know how much it would cost to execute the idea. Then again, you can always tell your clients that you aren’t sure how much the idea would cost. Just be careful with what you tell them. Always be clear with your intentions. It would be troublesome if they take your opinion or suggestion as a fact which can lead to miscommunication.
When suddenly pressed by the client to make a decision, don’t be intimidated. Again, keep in mind that you were hired because they think your knowledge and experience can be of help to them. In a situation where the client gives the team a deadline, or asks for more project deliverables, consider your options carefully first. Think about whether or not you or your team can handle the work before you commit to anything. Ask if you can be excused from the meeting for a short while. You may then call on your team or your superior and inform them of the client’s conditions. Now, when you go back to your client, you can haggle for time, costs, or whatever they’re asking more efficiently. This also avoids surprising your team or your superiors with additional work imposed by clients.
The same action can be used when a client suddenly calls and puts you on the spot. Taking a few minutes to confirm work schedules or costs can make all the difference in going over budget, or hiring more people for the project.
In the world of marketing, you are constantly selling products, services, and even yourself. If you can project a good image, back that up with excellent service, and create a nurturing environment for business, then, like great products, your service would sell itself. By forging a good relationship with your client, you get to secure business for the company, a partnership with the client, and a name for yourself in the industry.