Throughout every client relationship there are ups and downs. Just like new personal relationships, we have to develop trust and rapport with clients. Navigating these waters is part of the job, but it's not always easy. Working a few key words into your day to day conversations will help to grow and maintain relationships with no extra work or cost on your end.
Here are a few I've always found helpful and easy to remember:
Use this for clarification purposes when you can. i.e. “so your expectation for the final product is…” or “what are you expecting to benefit from this particular feature design?” It keeps things clear, you can ascertain end goals and long term insights to use for better serve your client. It also gives you the ability to ask for the specifics you might not get otherwise. If you fail to deliver after specifying expectations then you've got bigger problems.
“I'm Sorry, let me know how I can help.”
“In other words…”
Clients will feel what you feel. If you don't tell them anything then they won't have any particular feelings about you or your work, which is bad. Use words that solidify their choice to hire you. “I'm confident this will result in better sales.” “I'm confident you will really like this design.” This sets the tone that you have done your homework and are prepared to deliver what they asked. At the end of the day they will remember you as a solid piece of their business network and in turn have confidence in you as well.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are plenty of words or phrases you can work into your day-to-day that will create sound client relationships without any work. Creating these solid relationships will give you the rapport you need to approach them about difficult subjects, disagree with them in a professional manner, and all around give them better work.
What are other terms and words have you found helpful in your practice? I'd love to hear them and share the most popular in a later post!