Building strong client-contractor relationship skills is key to encouraging repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.
Not only does a positive client relationship contribute to a successful project, it directly affects your company’s brand. These five strategies will help you develop a client relationship based on trust and understanding.
1. Establish credibility and rapport right away
When first meeting with a client, it’s important to earn their trust. This sets the tone for the entire project.
The goal is to assure them your contracting business is the right one for the job. Be humble yet confident in your ability to help the client. You can explain previous success stories and how your experience will benefit their current project.
While your relationship with your client is professional, you also want to acknowledge that they’re a regular person. Connect with them by showing interest in their hobbies or asking how their family is doing.
2. Communicate clearly and regularly
When you practice effective communication throughout a project’s lifespan, your client will feel less worried about the project. Establish who to contact as well as their preferred method of communication. Make your communications detailed, brief, positive, professional and, when possible, visual.
Avoid using technical industry jargon your client will likely not understand. Keep language simple. Additionally, establish payment terms and conditions early on. This way, no one is caught off guard when invoices are sent.
Encourage your client to contact you with questions and be available when they call. Strong communication and transparency ensure everyone’s visions are aligned. Always communicate to the client how you’re working to exceed their expectations.
3. Stay organized
Organization is crucial for maintaining a good client relationship. Keep yourself in check by providing regular status updates and phase reviews, staying aware of project timelines and milestones and giving a client access to planning details.
Ultimately, whether you finish a project on time and within budget will determine the quantifiable numbers by which your performance will be judged. Learn more about how you can accomplish this by partnering with material management professionals.
4. Listen to clients
By listening to a client, you can better understand their needs, solve problems, prevent conflict and increase accuracy. Plus, they’ll appreciate feeling heard. They also feel more connected to the project.
Bear with clients if they overlook the complexities of your work. Explain your processes and why they’re in place. Be sure to practice these active listening tips:
- Talk at the same speed as your client.
- Express attentiveness, empathy and understanding by using body language.
- Keep eye contact.
- Avoid interrupting the client.
- Repeat information back to make sure you’re both on the same page.
All these steps help avoid misunderstandings and keep your project on track.
5. Embrace technology
Technology can help strengthen a client relationship in multiple ways, such as by
- Making communication easier.
- Boosting project efficiency.
- Simplifying the payment process.
- Reducing project costs.
- Providing accurate estimates.
- Generating project visuals.
- Marketing your capabilities to win future jobs.
Today, there are many mobile apps and software programs available that can help in these areas.
Grow your business with strong client-contractor relationship skills
Developing a positive client-contractor relationship can lead to future work from them and others they know. Follow these strategies to achieve greater success for your contracting business.
This article was originally published on November 20, 2018. It was updated and republished on June, 15, 2021.