Written by Alison Milligan, Account Executive on the PRSA Portland Metro team.
Client relationships are one of the most important relationships you will foster in your professional life. Clients are sometimes confusing or intimidating, but most often they are exciting! In order to facilitate the most effective results for your client, form a great relationship with them. Here are four ways to form a great relationship with your client:
- Remain transparent: When doing work for a client, it is important to remain transparent with them. Always be honest about your workload and never tell a client that you can do a project that you are unable to complete. Be truthful about your capabilities and capitalize on your strengths. By remaining transparent and being honest with your client, you will build their trust, and the client will appreciate your honesty.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions: It is much more productive and professional to ask questions if you are confused about a client’s request. Always clarify expectations on projects you are unsure of. It is always better to make sure you are progressing in the correct direction rather than finishing a project incorrectly. As young professionals, we often feel that asking questions is embarrassing or shows lack of experience. However, it is the opposite. Clients want you to do the work correctly and produce great content, so if that comes with a few questions then so be it. Clients will appreciate a few questions in return for great content.
- Show initiative: Sometimes you will have clients who are unsure of what they want. If your client hasn’t given you enough direction, don’t be afraid to come up with your own ideas! This situation is a great opportunity to show initiative, get creative and pitch new ideas. If you go to a meeting with a finished product or a complete idea, it will prove to the client that you’re self-driven and you have the ability to think outside of the box.
- Cater to your client: Understand your client’s industry and needs. Each industry is different and can sometimes require different PR skill sets. Always do research on your client. Not only learn about the industry, but also the client’s voice, writing style and social media habits. By doing your research, you can ease the learning curve that comes with each new client and avoid confusion in the future.
Alison Milligan is a senior public relations and multimedia student at the University of Oregon. She serves as an account supervisor for the PRSA Portland Metro Chapter team with Allen Hall Public Relations. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in technology, consumer or corporate communications.