Forging strong relationships with your recruitment clients brings benefits to both sides. Here, I will share some of our tips to help fellow recruiters best manage their client relationships.
It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of building relationships with your client base. Relationships with your clients can power your business to the next level. When your clients know, like and trust you, they will do more business with you, they will recommend you to their network and share industry knowledge and insights that can help you win more business. If your main point of contact at a client leaves, they’re likely to take your services with them to their new role.
When you take the time to understand more about what your clients do, and more importantly, what they need, you’re able to exceed their expectations quicker and more frequently.
In this article, I’m going to look at three things you can do to build a stronger relationship with your clients.
1 – Maintain contact
You can’t strengthen a relationship with a client if you never talk to them, so make sure you stay in touch.
In your first introduction, find out how clients prefer to be contacted. Do they like to talk on the phone, or do they prefer, email, text, WhatsApp or something else? The most effective way is to have a variation; calls for longer conversations combined with texts or WhatsApp messages for quick exchanges. Timing is also important, so try to get to know your clients’ daily and weekly routines. For example, I always ring one of my clients at 7.30 in the evening, as it’s the only time we can speak at length. We both get more value from a call at this time of day than we would from a call during the day. How often you should make contact with your client is a matter of opinion; the rule of thumb should be to always respect your client’s time. When you have something to say that will lead to a meaningful conversation, get in touch. However, don’t waste their time by calling them when you have nothing to offer, or if you just want to ask questions about when they’re likely to use you next; it can come across as unnecessary, overbearing and intrusive. In the best client relationships, you know each other well enough that they don’t need to call you because you can anticipate their needs.
Face-to-face is the best way to build a relationship with your client. It helps you understand each other better and build trust. Again, make sure this is arranged around times that suit them, as it takes up more time compared to a phone call or an email. Try to vary the ways you keep in contact with your client and always approach them with relevant news, or an insight into what’s happening in your industry.
2 – Provide value
Providing value is possibly the most effective way to forge a strong relationship with your client. It is what will keep them coming back to you. There are two ways you can provide value.
Firstly, make a great first impression. Then, build your credibility by continuing to do a great job. You will be remembered for the first candidate placement you work on for a client, so make sure you deliver above expectations. If they have a bad experience where you failed to do what you said you would do, they will remember and judge you on this. After your first success, continue to provide value by delivering first-class results. Be straightforward, guide them through the process so they understand and are on board with your decision making process, and be easy to deal with, clients can see right through pushy consultants that promise the earth and then seem to disappear off the side of it. Follow these rules and your relationship will soon start to evolve.
The second way of providing value requires more effort but is worth it. If you are not already, become an industry expert that can provide your clients with help over and above what you do as a recruiter. Proactively seek out information to develop yourself and communicate anything that your client could find useful. Sharing your knowledge freely and transparently, without asking for anything in return, doesn’t cost you anything and will set you apart from others seeking their attention. Be the person they go to when they want to know what is going on in your industry; speak their language. At Urban Connect, we try to do this at company level as well, by getting involved in local universities through our sponsorship prize for the best graduate structural engineer. This is a great way to recognise and get a feel for future talent that’s coming through. You can also help drive business to your clients. As a multi-disciplinary agency, we have a broad knowledge of what projects are ongoing, where they’re up to and what support they need to complete them. This awareness allows us to make recommendations and potentially give leads to our clients, where both appropriate and ethical.
3 – Understand your client’s culture
Finally, your client may have dozens of suppliers that help keep their business running. Be more than just one of the crowd; stand out.
Get to know what makes their business tick; the client culture. Understand your client’s vision, mission, and values. What makes your client unique in its industry? Get to know the team, meet as many people as you can and hang out with them when possible. The next level is to actively involve yourself and assist them in the things they do. If someone on your client’s team is doing something for charity, show your support by sponsoring them. Provide prizes for team building events to help them with rewarding and retaining their team. At Urban Connect, we sponsor a 5-a-side football competition for our clients which we really enjoy being involved in. And finally, if your clients invite you out to anything, go.
Everything you do in this regard will further enhance your relationship.
Think of the effort you and your team put into winning clients. It’s much harder to win a new client than it is to nurture a relationship with an existing one, and the benefits that nurturing brings could be even greater. Think about what you can do today to further your client relationships?
If you’re a recruiter who knows how to build strong relationships with clients and candidates alike, we’d like to talk to you! Urban Connect is a construction recruitment business, operating in the built environment, infrastructure, and transportation markets. We’re looking for experienced consultants to join our team and shape our growth.
To find out more, call Andrew Kerr on 0161 470 7181 or email Andrew.Kerr@urban-connect.co.uk.