Few of us foresaw at the start of the pandemic just how long our current social distancing period would stretch on —and how long we’d be working from home, away from colleagues and clients, as a result. Fortunately, here at V2 we are well versed in communicating from afar. With partners located around the world, we know a thing or two about building meaningful connections with clients when they aren’t located down the street. Keep reading to learn our top tips for staying connected with clients from a distance, strategies that are not only essential for overcoming the business disruptions caused by COVID-19 but also for forging all future partnerships.
Make room for the personal in addition to the professional
Remember, good client relations are rooted in good person-to-person relationships. Just because client relationships are professional by nature doesn’t mean you can’t also know personal tidbits about the team members, like dogs’ names or favorite restaurants in town. In fact, discussing these more casual points can be a great way to break the ice when getting acquainted with prospects, while remembering them throughout the partnership can do wonders in demonstrating that you value the client’s business as more than a financial opportunity.
Catch up outside of scheduled meetings
Getting to know your partners can be difficult when you’re only meeting for a few scheduled minutes per week, especially when there are a lot of people on the line. While essential for productivity, these regular calendar invites don’t always allow for moments of personability, which is why you should go off the schedule every once and a while to get in touch with clients. A quick phone call to your point of contact can be great, more comfortable opportunity for hashing out details that haven’t been covered in group meetings and help build a rapport between you two.
Gauge comfort around quick updates
When working in rapidly changing market landscapes, there are some program updates that can’t wait until your weekly meeting to be addressed. Even communicating via email can be counterproductive when a matter is hyper time-sensitive. So that no update goes unnoticed, decide early on how you intend to communicate in real-time, whether that be Slack, Teams or even texting, permitted the client is comfortable with the channel.
Improve your video-conferencing skills
Face-to-face communications are essential for collaboration, but trying to connect over video isn’t always everyone’s most natural way of engaging with others. But just like you need to practice public speaking skills for in-person events, knowing how to effectively convey your ideas over video—be it a weekly status meeting, a client presentation or even an industry event—is an essential attribute of the modern business person. To help professionals ace their next online opportunity, we’ve developed our V2 Virtual Studio, specialized trainings led by V2’s resident public speaking expert Elise Simard.
Many agencies are accustomed to working with clients spread across the map, but that isn’t to say that they’re doing it as thoughtfully or effectively as they could be. In order to drive business forward amidst COVID-19, professionals need to be all the more conscious of how they’re communicating with partners so that the disruption doesn’t yield to total disconnection. Especially in the absence of value-adding opportunities like visiting a client’s office or taking them out for lunch, the best course of action verges on over-communicating in order to sustain meaningful connections.