Social skills are an integral part of client relationship management.
Every time you interact with a client, they will be judging you and deciding whether you’re capable and competent for the job, whether you’re trustworthy and honest, or whether you’re likeable and recommendable to others.
Being able to communicate these messages to your client is part of your customer management strategy and it is the lifeblood of your business. If you have strong social skills then you’ll be able to retain and attract clients with ease. However, if you lack in social skills then your mistakes could drive clients away.
In this article, I want to share with you five social skills mistakes that you should avoid so you don’t lose clients.
Mistake #1 – Not Looking Like a Leader
For your client to see you as a leader, you must look like a leader. When you dress too casually, inappropriately or provocatively, your client will question your competence, intelligence and leadership ability. Why? Even though we’re told “you should never judge a book by its cover”, we do. It’s a natural human instinct to categorise people based on what they wear.
Which category do you want to be put in?
Mistake #2 – Not Being Able to Lead a Conversation
Leading a conversation takes confidence, skill and an understanding of the role of a conversation leader. Many people incorrectly assume that the conversation leader is the one who does most of the talking. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The conversation leader is the one who asks the questions and encourages the other person to talk. When you ask the questions, you can steer the conversation to where you want it to go. Clients will subconsciously associate your ability to steer conversations with your ability to guide them toward a final result.
Mistake #3 – Not Establishing Trust With Your Client
Without trust, your client will not feel safe working with you, they will not feel they can rely on you, and they might even question whether you’re capable of completing the job. Trust is a critical element of any business relationship. Yet many entrepreneurs overlook the importance of developing trust with their clients. It’s a shame because all it takes is a consistent series of very small gestures. For example, follow up with clients to see if they’re satisfied with your work. Or send thank you cards every 3-6 months conveying gratitude for that client’s business. You can even share informative and insightful articles with your clients on LinkedIn. Consistently “being there” and “being helpful” will help you establish trust with your clients.
Mistake #4 – Not Proving Your Competence on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the first place potential clients will go to look for information about you, and your products and services. From the moment they look at your profile photo to when they can scroll no further down the page, they will be looking for evidence and confirmation about your competence and ability to serve them well. Your competence can easily be proven. Start by making sure your education and experience sections are filled out, and include information about how you helped that company achieve their goals. Then focus on collecting recommendations. Recommendations are an extremely powerful way to prove to your clients why they should work with you.
Mistake #5 – Not Following Up With Clients
Following up with current and past clients is critical for managing relationships and maintaining a constant cash flow in your business. When was the last time you followed up with your list of clients? If it was more than 3 months ago, you need to pick up the phone and reignite a connection. When you’re on top of the mind of your clients they will know who to call when they need your services and who to refer friends or colleagues to. This will retain old clients, attract new clients and help grow your business.
Client relationship management should be a strong focus for any business owner. A high level of social skill in your business interactions will help you manage your clients well and make your business more successful.
Kara Ronin is a business etiquette and social skills expert. Her unique approach has been featured in TIME Inc., The Daily Muse, YFS Magazine, and many more. She is regularly interviewed on prominent podcasts and was ranked as one of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter. You can get social skills training by Kara in her new video course, Business Etiquette 101: Social Skills for Professional Success.