Last Saturday I started my morning with a throwback to my childhood. I decided to listen to Adventures in Odyssey.
If you grew up in a Christian home during the 1980’s and 1990’s, chances are you are familiar with Odyssey. My childhood was spent keeping up with the adventures of Mr. Whitaker, Connie, Jason, Eugene, and all the other wonderful residents of Odyssey. Even now, twenty years later, I still enjoy listening to an adventure or two when I can.
The episode I listened to on Saturday was a more recent show called The Friend Formula. In the episode a newcomer to town named Riley is trying to make friends. But bless his heart, thanks to some ridiculous friendship advice from Jay, he goes about it all wrong. Naturally, Mr. Whitaker gets wind of poor Riley’s woes and helps him get back on track. Although Jay’s advice ranged from comical to down right selfish, I found myself wincing a few times, as I thought back to some of my own selfishness when it comes to friendships.
Mr. Whitaker took Jay’s selfish tips and turned them around into four wonderful ways to be a good friend. As I jotted down the list for my own personal reference, it hit me that these “Four Ings of Friendship” are perfect for client relationships, too.
Do you put a premium on listening to your clients? Do you really hear their hearts and listen for ways that you can help them meet all their goals, not just the ones that benefit you financially? How about that chatty client who always seems to have yet another story to share? After all, don’t forget what Calvin Coolidge said: “No man ever listened himself out of a job.”
Sharing isn’t always easy when your time is so valuable. But sharing is what sets your business apart from the rest. Yes, you might get paid by the hourly, but share your time when you can. Charge what you are worth, but don’t nickle and dime your clients every time they give you a call.
One way I enjoy being able to share with clients is by keeping in tune with the latest trends in their industry, and sharing with them the ideas I come across. I don’t charge them for these free tips, but I find it very rewarding as my clients know that I’m looking out for their best interests, even when I’m not being paid.
Do you trust your clients? Do you trust their word? In our field, we need to trust our clients. When we do public relations for a brand, we’re staking our reputation out alongside of theirs. If I can’t trust someone, I don’t want to work with them. But once they earn that trust, give it freely.
One time we had a client that had some personal issues pop up in the middle of a project. They wanted to pay their bills, and I knew that, but they just did not have the money at the time. Instead, they proposed the option of a payment plan. That left us with two decisions. Cut off their website or trust them to pay over time. We opted to prove our trust in them. Not only did they pay on time, but we are still the first call they make every time they need additional work done.
Genuinely care for your clients. Get to know them, their likes, their dislikes, their children, and even their pet’s names! Simple things like cards or messages on their birthdays go a long way to help them know how much you appreciate not just their business, but their friendship. God didn’t bring them along just so they could be your client. He brought them into your path so that you could show Jesus to them and be a blessing to their work and ministry.[crp limit=”5″ heading=”1″ cache=”1″]
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