Building Relationships for Success: Tips for Client Engagement

Are You Engaging Your Clients?

customer engagementThe term “engagement” is all over social media and internet marketing but what about offline applications? What does it mean to engage with your clients?

One of the things we hear over and over again from our clients is that we were the most “engaged” team with which they have ever worked. The first few times we heard this, it surprised us. We couldn’t figure out why other teams wouldn’t engage with with their clients at the same level that we do.

Then we figured out that maybe some small business consultants simply don’t know how to increase client engagement because of one shocking reason: It never occurs to them to be engaged.

We decided to put together a list of how we view our clients and our work. Think of these as your new rules of business engagement. We hope it will help small business consultants connect with their clients the same way it has helped us engage with ours.

Read on for the list.

Your Clients are People.

Everyone on our team is an entrepreneur. We don’t just sympathize with our clients’ business struggles. We empathize with them.

If you’ve never been an entrepreneur and instead have always been a small business consultant you can still empathize with your clients. You just need to shift the way that you think.

If the word clients equals dollar signs or business to you, then you’re doing it wrong.

Shift to thinking of clients as people who need your help.

Once you do that, client engagement can begin.

You are a Part of Someone’s Brand.

This is the second rule of client engagement.

Do not view yourself as a small business consultant. View yourself as a part of a small business team.

Even if you aren’t officially on the payroll, you are still a part of a team, a part of a brand.

Your work should easily blend with the existing team. This means you may need to be a bit of a chameleon and adapt your working style to fit with the style of a particular small business team. Don’t sacrifice your integrity and don’t hold back on giving your advice (that’s what they pay you for, after all) but if a client’s style of work is more laid back than yours,  then you should adjust accordingly.

You Don’t Know Everything.

Yes, your client hired you for your wisdom, but to maximize client engagement, you need to remember that you don’t know everything about your client’s particular brand. Go into every meeting as if it were a brainstorming session. Your goal as a small business consultant is to blend your knowledge with your client’s brand vision.  You want to elevate their business, not completely alter it.

Never go into a client meeting with a smug attitude. Always go in with the attitude of sharing knowledge. Always listen to your client’s needs and wants first. Of course, they may be on the wrong path – in fact, they probably are, which is why they hired you – but a little humility goes a long way in building trust.

Be willing to adjust your strategy to suit your client’s needs. Your client’s brand is unique. There is no one-sized fits all strategy. Learn to weave your client’s vision with your knowledge to create a unique strategy that will elevate their business.

What tactics have you found successful in increasing your client engagement? Let us know in the comments.

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