Vital Signs: 7 Traits of the Best Relationships with the Best Clients

Most of us do what we do to work with the best clients. These are the clients who award work without competition, offer us an abundance of challenging and interesting work and are a joy to work with. These clients are often big spenders but pop up in every size group as well.

The best clients don’t often announce themselves. The good news is these coveted clients engage in a number of key behaviors exclusive to this group. Here are the 7 behaviors of the best clients we found in analyzing more than 13,000 client relationships with top executives:

  • Frequent, short, informal communications
  • Demanding and exacting in their objectives
  • Extraordinary candor   
  • Expects mutual learning—you will learn from your client and they will learn from you
  • Mistrustful of low price providers but will negotiate for the best rate from you
  • Shares their plans moving forward
  • Expects you to match or exceed their energy levels

In a rare case of like-attracts-like, the best clients expect these same behaviors from their best service providers. Sit back and look at your clients' communication patterns, think about the levels of candor, maybe reframe the feedback from clients in light of their needs.

Finding points of mutual learning is often the most powerful behavior. Your clients want the same intellectual challenge you do. You can leverage this by sharing new ideas, brainstorming approaches and being the first to offer fresh perspectives on new (and current) issues. The best relationships with the best clients thrive on energy: mutual exchange is the fuel and you control the throttle.

MBR