I’ve been reflecting on how we all aim to build relationships and ensure that our contacts and clients gain confidence in our skills.

With the rush to digital marketing, and indeed blogs (ironically like this one) I think sometimes we forget the importance of “real” conversations and relationships. Which is not to say that digital marketing and blogging is no use, but it is an addition to, rather than a replacement of, the other ways we build lasting client relationships.

Two things in particular make me say this:

Firstly, every time we do client research one of the key things that interviewees and decision makers say is something like “they would be in a better position to win more work from us if they spent more time with me (or us) to understand what we are trying to do”. Nobody has ever said “I don’t use them because I don’t like their website” – but often they say “it would be good to have a coffee more often with them”.

Secondly, I had a meeting with a long standing client the other day; we’d kept in contact via email, but during an informal meeting (in the pub) we scoped a project that we both left feeling huge enthusiasm f0r and commitment to.

My feeling is that these days, its tempting to tell ourselves we’re building or maintaining a relationship when we send emails or have a quick chat by ‘phone.  Sure, we’re keeping people aware of us, but that’s where it begins and ends. Particularly if what you provide has any complexity, advisory component, or relies on trust – so that’s most things then – you need to meet up.

It’s more fun too.

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