- Published on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 20:30
- Written by Super User
What is the definition of a quality client relationship? Philosophically speaking, I believe you must be someone who gives freely, someone who builds life-long bonds by enriching the lives of people with whom you have rapport.
In my experience as an agent, there have been five essential approaches that have helped me maintain and extend long-term connections with my clients:
1. Empathize with people. Imagine, as you're listening to them, that they're not describing their problems, questions, and dreams, but they're describing your own. Make yourself the star of the movie of their life and be aware of how you would feel.
2. Be a part of the solution, even if you cannot solve the problem. Can you solve everybody's problems? Of course not. But you might be able to help them to see a pathway through their problem. This might be in the form of questions that help them think something through. It could be a referral to someone who can help them with their problem. It could even be as simple as a list of good articles to consider.
3. Aim to counsel, don't aim to please. An advisor is a true ally. A "yes man/woman" is completely forgettable (and untrustworthy). Risk short term rejection over a tough truth in order to grow a long term relationship.
4. Teach others how to teach themselves. Don't just give answers. The more you can increase a client's capacity to empower themselves, the more valuable your standing will be in their eyes. Think about it: Do you ever forget your mentors?
5. Give without anticipating return. If you're running a little cost/benefit analysis in your head for every interaction, you're not giving freely. Hesitancy, a stinginess of spirit, and an unwillingness to risk without reward will always cost you more than you think.
I can’t think of a single instance when these approaches haven’t improved the bond between me and my clients.
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