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Roundtable Review – Client Relations & Retention

On April 23rd, we held our Client Retention roundtable using a remote Zoom session. The roundtable was introduced by Sandi Feinblum

Attendees brought annecdotes and questions based on the following prompts:

  • What is one key question you ask clients to draw them out on sensitive matters when you first meet them, and revisit with them selectively while working together that helps maintain an open and positive relationship?
     
  • What is the worst experience you’ve ever had with a client?
     
  • What stumps you with clients time and again that you can’t figure out how to address successfully no matter what you try?

The conversation unearthed some fantastic horror stories(!) and some equally fantastic insights from those who attended, including tactics for keeping top of mind with propsects, building relationships that can weather tough projects, recovering damaged relationships, tackling difficult conversations upfront, navigating price conversations, transparency, partnership and much more. 

Below are some of the statements and insights shared by our 20 roundtable participants:

We force a level of transparency about budget on day one which is really difficult but it has been successful. The real number is important.

Architect

If someone does start to get needlessly aggressive I will say: “I’m happy to discuss this, but when we’re ready to have a civil discussion about it.” It has been a very useful tactic to diffuse difficult conversations.

Materials Supplier

When someone is done answering, don’t respond for a moment to create a pause. Let them fill the gap in the conversation. What they say in that space is often much more salient – it lets them get into the heart of things.

Design Entrepreneur

I ask my clients to tell me about their worst experience with technology. Much of technology has to do with an individual’s relationship to it.

AV Consultant

I always let the client speak first, and get insight into the mechanics of their mind. This way, you can understand how you need to corral that mind and present your options and solutions to match.

Owners’ Representative

Some people want to make the client like them. I don’t think you can make that happen, but you can let the client know you like them. Making them like you? You might remind them of their mother that they hate! 

Consultant

How do you get a client to keep you in mind? Send them articles and things you’ve read you think they would find interesting. These little relationship-builders are critical. The other thing is PR. That’s what PR is for – keeping you in your client’s minds. 

Consultant

Brick & Wonder members can access a video recording and audio recording of the discussion, and find the session notes in our resources library. 

Our next roundtable is on Image Making and will be introduced by Scott Frances, Photographer, Tony King, Founder at King & Partners and Christine Abbate – President, Novita PR.

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