First and foremost, just like the caring people who perform CPR, you also need to have a caring attitude towards your clients, and that relationship has some common characteristics with parenthood. Being a mum myself, I deploy a handful of the characteristics from my day-to-day life with my children into dealing with clients, this can create a somewhat excellent working environment. In fact, becoming a mother really taught me how to become a better business owner. I had a certain care and attention which existed before my kids, but somehow became more apparent in the sense of a duty or responsibility I have towards creating a certain relationship with them.
Lets face it, some adults have an unusual ability to rewind and behave like children, sometimes you may find a client behaving this way, and ‘falling out’ with you, in this case, if you really do want to rescue the relationship, you can try CPR.
C – Control
The most important part of a parent/child relationship, is also in my opinion a vital part of a VA/client relationship is that the VA maintains control of the situation at all times. Without it chaos can strike. Rules need to be in place to maintain a certain stability within the business and the working environment. I wouldn’t allow my kids to run around doing whatever they want whenever they want, because the results would be they could get hurt, it could be bad for them and it could cause undesirable results for me. It’s the same for clients, if you allow all your clients to control and dictate to you, you’ll quickly feel out of control and under pressure, with less than satisfactory results. Remain in charge, it’s your business, they chose to hire you, they need to respect your boundaries, and know that where YOUR business is concerned – you call the shots.
P – Patience
As children grow up, they learn, as clients work with you, and do business with you, they also learn. By having patience with a client, you can help them to grow, learn and flourish alongside you. Just like we don’t know it all, neither do clients, even though they may think they do, so sometimes it can get a little frustrating. It’s important to maintain that patience with them, and for you to behave like an adult, even when they are not.
Another thing you should always do, which I know isn’t easy, is remain cool, calm and collected. Put things into perspective when your patience is wearing thin — is this one of those niggley problems that will eventually come out in the wash, or is it something more serious…
R – Routine
My children thrive on routine and so do my clients, they have a general idea when they can get a hold of me, how to do business with me, what we can offer, timescales, deadline, it’s all organised and there is little room for confusion – it’s a safety blanket. This makes it easy for them to rely on me and trust me – in other words routine can help build confidence and keep things running smoothly. Sometimes all the client has is a lack of understanding for your business routine, by reaffirming with them the ‘guidelines’ of working with you, and ‘how it works’ they may well be accepting to them, if not, then they need to find another VA.
By caring about your business and clients enough to put these things in place, you could save a client / VA relationship.
At the the end of the day, of course, a parent is for life, but a client doesn’t have to be. What you really have to ask yourself is, is the relationship really worth saving?