AECCafe Guest Blog
Megan Miller is a senior product marketing specialist for Herndon-based Deltek, the leading global provider of enterprise software and information solutions for professional services firms and government contractors, and can be found at www.deltek.com.
Are You Nurturing Your Client Relationships?
November 30th, 2015 by Megan Miller
With the holiday season upon us, many people take time to reflect on the relationships in their lives – friends, family and colleagues. But for a project-based A/E/C firm, the relationships that require your attention are your clients.
The most successful A/E/C firms are built on strong client relationships – and their confidence in you as a trusted partner. But as firms grow and work picks up, it can be easy to focus on deliverables and let your relationships fall to the wayside.
The holidays are the ideal time to reconnect with clients and better understand what they need in the coming year. Here are a few steps that you can take to foster a closer relationship with your clients this holiday season.
Go The Extra Mile
In the A/E/C industry, it can be easy to forget that we are dealing with people and not just projects. But, even the most introverted clients will generally appreciate you remembering their favorite drink, hobby or children’s names. Whether you are hosting a large client party, dropping off a thoughtful gift or simply sending a meaningful, hand-written note, the holidays are the ideal time to put that personal touch back in your client relationships.
If you have a client who you know is in need of attention, now is your chance to schedule time with them. Set aside time for lunch, coffee or a drink and start rebuilding your relationship before you begin the new year with a renewed focus on project deliverables.
Build New Contacts Within Your Client Organization
You may have personal working relationships with specific contacts at each client, but if you only know one or two people within a client organization, your firm is vulnerable to having your professional relationship derailed by staffing changes on the client side.
As the year draws to a close, take time to review your Client Relationship Management (CRM) system and see which accounts have only one or two points of contact. Then, reach out to your key contacts and suggest a chance to get together – while inviting other members of their team.
The holidays are also an opportune time to revisit the past year’s successes and lessons learned in a social setting, as well as to informally discuss strategy for 2016.
Prepare for any client interactions by reviewing project details in your CRM system and identifying key talking points. Then lay the groundwork for more detailed, business-focused discussions in the new year.
Revise Your Best Practices
How frequently does your firm contact key clients? Do you have someone assigned to each of your clients to ensure that you are truly nurturing your relationships? Talk to your clients and find out what elements of your communication have worked for them in the past year. Then use that information to enhance your 2016 planning.
The holiday season is a time to let those in your life know just how much they mean to you, so be sure to include your clients and colleagues on that list. To learn more about how the right CRM solution can help you build and track client relationships, join Deltek for an upcoming webinar.