A lot has changed in the world over the last few months, including the world of business development and outside sales. Relationships that were cultivated in face-to-face meetings have been moved to virtual.

This leads us to the question of how do we build relationships with clients when face-to-face communication has been replaced by screen-to-screen? 

Below are a few ways to build and nurture relationships in a virtual environment:

Turn on your video

By now, this should not come as a surprise. Virtual meetings have become the reality for many companies especially for internal meetings, but it is also a good tool to utilize externally with clients. Being able to associate a face with a voice is a way to foster a more genuine relationship with someone. Now is the time to humanize yourself and clients. 

  • Before you begin with any new technology or jump on a video call with a client, make sure you understand how it works. For example, if you wanted to share your screen, would it be an easy click of the button? 

Hone in on your listening skills 

Now is the time to become a better active listener. When meeting clients in person, you have the advantage of additional sensory guidance for reading how a prospect or client feels. If you are speaking with someone over the phone and not utilizing video, you aren’t able to see visual clues and might be missing things such as the person tapping their pen on the desk, crossing their arms or furrowing their eyebrows. You have to rely on your listening skills to pick up any voice fluctuations or a tone shift. 

Refresh your reading and writing skills

In a virtual world, there is more text-based communication. Your grammar is a reflection of your image and may affect their confidence in your skills. 

In addition to grammar mistakes, the effectiveness of your message relies on your ability to articulate in writing. People are inundated with long-winded emails they are less likely to read. Being able to consolidate your thoughts, while getting your point across, is vital. 

It’s also a good time to brush up on your reading comprehension skill.  Since email is much harder to interpret and key pieces of information can get lost in translation, slow down when you’re reading a client email and don’t skim through. Take time to digest what they are saying.

Be mindful of clients’ time

It might be easy to skip the agenda or start/end late during a virtual meeting but most people are juggling a lot on their plates right now and it’s important to show your clients that you are respectful of their time and other commitments. 

How are you managing client relationships in a virtual environment?
We would love to hear what you and your teams are doing and what you have learned.