Supporting your client goes beyond simply being responsive. It is more than just replying to emails, returning calls, and Skyping with your client regularly.
To become your client’s best vendor, you need to go above and beyond when it comes to communication and performance. You need to understand the goals of your client along with the needs of your point of contact.
Here are six major steps that can help you do just that:
1. Know What They Need
Know what information your point of contact needs to report to his/her supervisor. Understand the goals of your client and the goals of your contact, as they are not always the same. Your contact wants to help fulfill the goals of your client, but he/she may also want to develop a personal brand within the company. Be sure to confirm these goals and needs of your client and contact regularly, as they often change over time.
2. Make the Right Reports
Create reports that include that information. It’s your responsibility to help your contact shine in the eyes of his/her supervisor, and the best way to do that is to create and send progress reports as needed—weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Providing these details will save your contact valuable time and increase the respect your contact has for you and your team.
3. Communicate Correctly
Use the form of communication most conducive to your business partnership. Avoid jumping around from phone calls to emails back to phone calls and texting. Try to maintain communication through the form that works best for your point of contact in order to make your contact more comfortable when conversing with you. Some people prefer email communication, as many check their accounts religiously multiple times a day. Others prefer project management platforms, that way everything is recorded in one spot.
4. Know Their Timeline
Know when to step up and when to fall back. Discuss the frequency of your work with your point of contact in order to gauge when and how often your services are most needed. Is there a certain time of year when your point of contact will need your assistance more than usual?
Depending on your industry, your company’s services may not be needed for a particular season. If other priorities are stealing your point of contact’s attention, it might be time to reduce your communication and, in some cases, the amount of work performed. Financial strains are also often a contributing factor to reduced workloads.
5. Keep Them Informed
Always keep your client in mind. Send your contact unsolicited, useful information. When was the last time you sent your contact a link to a blog post or LinkedIn article on a topic you know will interest your client? Your contact and your client will appreciate that you’ve considered their needs when you take the initiative to email articles that contain helpful hints.
Another way to help build your client relationship is to send your point of contact information on upcoming trade shows or contests than can translate into more business.
6. Offer Suggestions
Offer your client other services to help better its overall performance. If you’ve noticed your client is falling short in a particular area, you can suggest to your point of contact the services you offer that will improve the company’s performance, so your contact can reach out to his/her supervisor. This can also boost your reputation as a trustworthy vendor.
When creating new proposals, avoid using templates or be sure to remove any irrelevant sections. Put together a proposal that contains nothing but what you recommend in order to best improve your client’s bottom line.
Building a long-lasting client-vendor relationship begins with honesty and learning to understand and meet your point of contact’s needs. Going the extra mile and providing your contact with helpful tips and tricks throughout and even following your contract will create a pleasurable experience and recommendations for future business deals.