How do you build client rapport in today’s fast-paced world of email, texts and instant messages? Sure, those things make it easy to communicate with clients, especially for salespeople on the go.
But if you don’t put that extra touch into your client relationships, you’ll lose them, buckaroo.
So how can you differentiate yourself from your competition in a digital world?
Here are some easy tricks to build client rapport using social media.
1. Recommend And Endorse Them On LinkedIn
In real life, if you like the work someone does, you refer them to people you know, right? So why not do the same using social media?
LinkedIn is perfectly positioned to help you build client rapport.
Recommending: In just a few short steps, you can write a concise, but meaningful recommendation about your client espousing all the great and wonderful things they’ve done for you and for others. This is a fantastic way to inflate their ego (I mean give them kudos).
Endorsing: This option allows you to affirm the skills of a LinkedIn connection with the click of a button. If someone thinks, for instance, that I am good at Sales Management, all they have to do is click the + button next to that skill on my profile and (Bam!), they’ve just endorsed me. And yes, your client will get an email listing all the skills for which you just endorsed them. Pretty snazzy, huh?
2. Advertise Their Charitable Causes
Notice I didn’t say “donate money to” your clients’ charitable causes. You can certainly do that if you want. But I bet you’d go broke supporting every client’s cause.
Instead, build client rapport sharing what they’re doing to give back to your community through social media. Facebook and Google Plus are particularly well suited for this kind of sharing because they make it so easy for others to continue sharing their story.
Before social media, you might not have found out about your client’s charity work until you read about it in the local paper. Today, you can not only learn what they’re doing in real time, but you’ll probably hear about what they’re planning weeks beforehand.
3. Host A Webinar For Them
If you really want to seal the deal on your next client renewal, shower them with potential customers. Lots of them!
Follow these simple steps to host your first webinar:
- Choose Your Client(s) & Your Topic: Select one or more of your customers for whom you could build a central topic around. For example, a month before tax time, invite a CPA, a financial advisor and a commercial mortgage broker to discuss “Strategies For Reducing Your Business Tax Liabilities”.
- Schedule It: Create either a GoToMeeting session or a Google Hangout that will be hosted at least 2 weeks in the future. This will give you time to build your audience. The webinar should be scheduled to last one hour, and lunchtime or just after is usually a good time to host it.
- Build Your Audience: Based on your topic, start inviting everyone you can think of who would be interested. Target your existing customers, your LinkedIn contacts, Chamber of Commerce buddies, anyone who would benefit from your webinar. Make sure to use all of your social media outlets to get the word out.
- Prepare & Practice: Develop 5 – 10 questions or topics to cover and send these to your panelists. You probably won’t have time to cover more than about 5 questions in an hour if you have multiple panelists, but it’s better to have more than you need just in case. Then, do a test run maybe a week or two ahead of time with some colleagues. This will allow you to work out technical difficulties and practice using all of the webinar tools available to you.
- Host The Webinar: Be sure to have your panelists on standby a few minutes ahead of time and be ready to go. And don’t forget to record the show so you can share a link to the recorded version for those who weren’t able to make it. Plus, that recording can live on your website as free advertising for your clients for years to come!
4. Offer Coupons For Their Business
This is an incredibly easy way to build client rapport. And it works best with clients in the retail and service industries.
Ask your client if they’d like to advertise their product or service through a coupon in your agency’s next email newsletter. (You have one, right?) No fee, no hidden agenda. Tell them it’s a (new) service you offer to your valued clients. You want to help their business succeed, right?
We did this for one of our restaurant clients and the response was overwhelming. They got a ton of new patrons as a result, and that made our client happy. Best of all, they were happy with us.
That’s how you build better rapport with clients.
If you don’t send out at least a quarterly(ish) email update to your clients, hang your head in shame right now. Ok, until then, you can always offer a coupon on your website. It’s still a gesture of goodwill. It just may not get as many eyes on it.
5. Interview Them
Part of human nature is that we love recognition. We love to have our story heard. So what better way to make a deposit into your client’s emotional bank account than by helping them get their own story broadcast to the masses?
With just an iPhone and a YouTube account, you can interview your client about any topic related to their business and then post it online for the world to see.
Some questions you might want to ask them:
- What inspired you to start this business?
- What value do your clients get from your product or service?
- Which challenges have you faced in your company over the years, and how have you overcome those challenges?
- Tell me about a memorable client experience.
You could go on an on, and believe me, your client will keep talking. Give it a shot. And don’t forget to post the YouTube link to your social media outlets for sharing!
Now You’re Better Armed To Build Client Rapport
I know the temptation is to use email, texts and instant messages to communicate these days. But when it comes to clients, the agents who win are the ones who take the time to develop better rapport with them. Using these social media tools will allow you to be both brief and meaningful in your relationship building. A win-win in my book!
What ways have you used social media to build client rapport? Which ones have made the most impact on your customers?