As an entrepreneur, it can be easy to become close to your clients. You may be tempted to share personal information, but it’s not always wise.
To help you stay professional with your clients, you should first establish your own personal/business work boundaries. You can then use those guidelines to establish a professional working relationship with your clients.
Here are my top three tips for keeping a warm and professional client relationship.
1. Don’t divulge that you work late nights and weekends.
This will raise the expectation level of your clients because they may begin to think that you are working for them 24/7. Suddenly, they will say, “I didn’t get any updates from you this weekend. What happened? I thought you worked over the weekend?” You shouldn’t have to explain your personal time.
Do: Keep your weekends and evenings for yourself, family and keeping your own business up-to-date.
2. Don’t divulge too much personal information.
It’s natural to have a conversation about weekend plans or current events with your clients, but keep your personal life and business life… private. I’m sure your clients are wonderful and would make great friends, but don’t cross the line.
If you are ever late on a deliverable to your client (and you should never be late), imagine them joking and saying that you were probably late because you went to a concert. Ouch! Suddenly, you are being scolded like an employee. I also don’t recommend personal connections on Facebook or Twitter because that can reveal your daily activity.
Do: Make a professional connection on LinkedIn and other business networks.
3. Don’t divulge your client list.
Giving a referral to a potential client is one thing, but outside of that referral, keep your clients private and separate.
Perhaps I am overly private, but I don’t display a list of clients on my website. I want my clients to know that I am focusing on them instead of them wondering what services I am providing for another client.
Be mindful when a client refers their friend to your business, too. Stay neutral, and don’t mix their friendship with your business.
Do: Find ways to give each client a unique experience that is catered to his/her business.
What are some of your tips for being warm, yet professional, with your clients?
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