Recently, our friends at UpCity asked if we would participate in a Q&A on the topic of choosing new clients, earning their trust, and forming relationships.
Here at Rosie’s Creative, we consider the relationships we build with our clients to be a key component of how we do business, and an indicator of our own successes, so we were happy to share our experiences and insights on the topic.
We thought our blog readers might also be interested in what we had to say on this topic. So, here are our responses to UpCity’s questions, unedited and in full:
Topic: Choosing Your Clients Wisely
What red flags do you look for that signal that a potential client may not be a good fit for your agency?
We strive to build client relationships based on a mutual openness – the client is open to our vision, just as we are open to their needs. So, when a potential client positions themselves as inflexible or non-receptive to feedback during our initial consultation, we consider it a definite “red flag” that they may not be a good fit for us.
How do you handle letting a potential client down easily? Do you refer them to another agency? How do you approach the conversation?
We believe that honest, open communication is something we owe to every client and potential client, and the notion of “letting someone down easy” clashes with this principle. If it does turn out that a client is a bad fit, we find that telling them in real, honest terms is the best way to earn their respect, even if they do not continue working with us.
If a client becomes too much to handle after you’ve already began the relationship, how do you approach the situation?
We believe in setting realistic goals and managing our clients’ expectations from the start, so we can anticipate problems and deal with them before they threaten the relationship. If a client is “too much to handle,” we consider this a sign that we haven’t done our homework – it reflects poorly on us, not on the client.
Topic: Building Client Trust
What steps do you take during the pitch process to help build trust?
As much of our business is based on referrals, trust is often implicit when clients first approach us. It’s then up to us to prove ourselves worthy of that trust, by getting to know our clients, establishing standards for communication, and setting achievable goals for the project during the pitch process.
What steps do you take at the beginning of a new client relationship to help build trust?
Meaningful correspondence, constructive feedback, and plain, honest talk about what we can achieve together are the keys to building trust with new clients. It’s important to keep clients in the loop when it comes to the progress of their project, but without muddying the waters with superfluous, vague, or misleading communication that can do more harm than good.
Once you’ve gained a client’s trust, how do you preserve and maintain it throughout the duration of the campaign?
One of the surest, quickest ways to lose a client’s trust is to make big promises, but fail to deliver results. That’s why it’s so important to be truthful and forthcoming about all matters, during every stage of the process. If you obfuscate unpleasant details or give your clients unreasonable expectations, it can – and will – come back to bite you.
What are the biggest detriments to building a strong client relationship?
As an agency, our business model relies on the relationships we build and maintain with our clients, so we don’t look on strong relationships as a burden or a detriment. That said, it’s essential to set proper boundaries, and be careful in managing expectations when bringing new clients on board. If this is done, strong client relationships can only be a positive.