Strengthening Client Relationships From Home
by Alaina Andreozzi
Client relationships are just like personal ones - if it didn’t survive the pandemic, it probably wasn’t right in the first place. And at a time when developing a human connection feels more challenging than ever, compatibility with clients has become increasingly important to weather the storm.
We need shared interests and beliefs to build the foundation. We need to be adaptable, open to change and have the fortitude to push forward despite uncertainty. We need to be respectful of each other’s boundaries, know when to push and when not to.
The power of developing an authentic connection
Whether it’s through our love of food, movies or art, our shared interests provide neutral ground to develop deeper relationships and connect with clients. It’s easy to skim over, but something as simple as checking in on family or debriefing about our favorite Netflix show has been crucial to the strength of our relationships.
When the pandemic hit, we had difficult conversations with our clients about the realities of our businesses. The hit was a shared experience and we worked through it together to figure out how to make it out on the other side. It would have been difficult to broach that subject without a strong foundation.
Managing the relationship in a remote environment
So how do you strengthen relationships without spending time together in person? I looked to online dating for inspiration. The new norm calls for new practices. We’re more intentional about our time together. We build in time to catch up on life and make an effort to connect with our clients one on one. There’s an increased frequency of communication, transparency and vulnerability. We’re sharing more than ever before.
Humans want to feel connected, and right now that need is greater than ever. Authentic vulnerability is a powerful way in. We can identify shared values and commonalities, which can be an antidote for conflict during stressful moments.
Sometimes, it’s just not meant to be
With anxiety at an all-time high and budgets increasingly tight, it’s easy to lose sight of humanity, but it’s mutual respect and understanding that will get us through. And sometimes, that’s still not enough. We’re not able to find a way to connect and the differences are too great to overcome.
Despite our best efforts, there’s no foolproof approach. We can only show up as our real, authentic selves and do our best to make it happen. And just like dating: there’s always more fish in the sea.