Top-Shelf Tip No. 139:

"The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said."

Peter Drucker

The Art Of Client Communication

Client communication is vital to running a thriving business. While you may be an excellent communicator, you may not necessarily excel at client communication. It's an art that needs to be mastered. Callum Humphreys, an entrepreneur and graphic designer based in Sydney, Australia, says that client communication is one of the most solid building blocks to creating a successful business. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share his tips for becoming a pro at client communication.

Always respond promptly. Humphreys says that if you're selling things, you want to be the first one to answer. Very often, a sale will go to the person who responds first. Even if you can't give all the information right away, you should still respond. Get into the habit of replying to clients immediately, even if it is just a simple "I'll get back to you with more information later on." Being prompt when replying showcases how professional you are and gives your client an early indication of what it would be like to work with you. If you take days to reply, you won't be selling yourself very well.

Don't be a robot. It might be tempting to use an automatic message to reply, but clients do not respond well to that. People like to make human connections, and a robot answering to them will not suffice. Also, don't be too formal or scripted in your own responses. Humphreys suggests that you write how you speak, be conversational and even make a couple of jokes. Obviously, keep everything professional, but show your personality too. People buy from other people, not a scripted sales machine.

Get curious. As a business owner, you must be genuinely interested in everything around you. This includes your clients and their businesses. Ask them questions, learn about them and find out their story. Not only will this help you understand your client, but it'll also provide you with a network of people. Treat every client interaction like any other conversation. Have a chat with them, ask questions and try to learn something in the process. This will help you build a meaningful connection, but also highlight how exactly you can help them.

Take a few writing lessons. You don't have to take formal writing lessons if you don't see the need. However, you must be able to answer emails in the right way. Phone calls take up too much time, and you'll soon realize that clients need to email you and vice versa. This is where clear, concise and well-written emails come into practice.

Under promise. Don't just under promise, but over deliver too. If you believe that you can have a project finished early, don't tell that to your client-just over deliver. Beating a deadline makes you look like a hero, meeting a deadline is still very professional and missing a deadline is easily forgiven if you have an excellent track record.

Remember that clients are just people who need your help. They want to be understood on a human level. Use the tips above to make sure you're communicating well with them.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Callum Humphreys is an entrepreneur and graphic designer based in Sydney, Australia. He is the owner of the logo and graphic design company Creato.

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