As marketers, we spend our days trying to build stronger relationships with clients. And for years, it’s been drilled into us that clients want two things: a snappy resolution to their questions or complaints and personalized attention. But what if I told you that neither of those things is their true priority?
According to Deloitte research, clients are 34% more likely to buy and 32% more likely to renew a contract with B2B suppliers that perfect the client experience. What’s more, 85% of people surveyed said that partnering with organizations that are honest and trustworthy has become more important to them since the start of the pandemic.
In other words, clients don’t just want you to solve their problems in a way that’s quick and tailored; they also want to know that you get them. I like to call this being heart-aligned, and when heart-aligned teams support heart-aligned clients, it creates a beautiful space full of love, kindness, and appreciation.
Here are two ways you can model heart alignment in your client interactions:
Communicate Intentionally, Not Transactionally
Sometimes, you need to have hard conversations with your clients, whether that means saying no to an impossible request or digging deeper to figure out why something isn’t working. But when doing so, you should always prioritize heart alignment.
Start by scrubbing transactional language from your vocabulary. Terms like “tactic” and “strategy” are at direct odds with heart alignment because being heart-aligned isn’t a tactic or a strategy at all. It’s a way of being.
For example, I had a client set a hard deadline for completing her book. But instead of empowering her, the deadline created a major writing block, turning the writing process — which was once a source of joy – into a burden and stressor.
After multiple discussions with her book coach and myself and encouragement from her team, she decided to release that pressure. Soon after, she rediscovered the joy she’d lost. We showed up for her, gave her grace, and helped her through. It wasn’t about her contractual agreement or an arbitrary deadline. It was about helping her understand what she needed in order to get the most out of the process and being more intentional about my communication about the process with her.
Create More Space to Connect with Clients
When you rely on a transactional approach to client interactions, you forfeit many of the advantages of building strong relationships with them. You can’t serve clients in a heart-aligned way if you don’t create the space to connect with them.
What does this look like in practice? When you’re interacting with a client, be fully present. Society glorifies multitasking, but heart alignment requires slowing down. When I’m on a client call, I shut down my computer and turn off all notifications. This human is making time for me, and I want to respond in kind. Showing up this way allows me to listen (actually listen), instills trust, and demonstrates core values alignment.
For example, I was recently working with a client and things weren’t going well. My client was feeling scatterbrained, and it was showing in their work. My team was having to edit the project in bits and pieces — often before items were truly ready. This approach wasn’t creating a good experience for anyone and felt like a waste of my client’s resources.
I decided to check in and explore ways we could streamline the process and maximize their resources. Because I approached this conversation from a place of compassion, my client opened up about some personal issues. Not only did it explain the chaos that was overflowing into our project, but it also helped us forge a deeper bond.
Building strong relationships with your clients to gain their business might be goal No. 1, but if you’re not modeling heart alignment in every interaction, you won’t achieve your desired results. So next time you’re thinking about how to be a better partner, go straight to the heart.