As a PR professional, I’m in the business of building relationships (or at least that’s a vital part of what I think our industry is all about). From establishing rapport with my colleagues and industry partners to reporters and influencers, I keep a keen eye on making sure my relationships are intact. This is even more true for relationships with clients – strong client relationships should be a PR firm’s top priority (and one of my personal favorites).
To me, you’re barely scratching the surface if you’re communicating with your client via an email here and a phone call there. If you really want to build a deeper relationship with a client , I advocate for getting out of the office. Here are three ways to have some fun (and get in some work) with your clients.
Let’s do lunch!
Lunch meetings during the week are a fairly common occurrence. However, have you ever invited a client to lunch on a weekend? Yes, keeping your business dealings to work-related hours is preferable. But in some cases, a client may struggle to find time to meet with the PR firm. Between meetings, conference calls and travel commitments, sometimes it’s just difficult to sync calendars. If this becomes a recurring issue for you, I’d say invite the client to an early lunch on a Saturday. Grab a tasty sandwich, talk about life and weave in your business discussions as they flow naturally into the conversation.
Take in some yoga.
Oh, to be able to step away from the hustle and bustle of the day to get in some “zen” time. For some, this is feasible. For PR professionals, maybe not so much. But, if you can tie yoga to some great relationship-building time with a client, I’d say that’s double worth it! Of course, a yoga studio is not conducive to full-on conversations … it’s not conducive to any kind of conversation, really. What yoga can do is give both you and your client a much-needed break from the workplace that you both can appreciate. Remember that you can take time before and after the yoga class to catch up on business happenings. In the meantime, deep breathing is where it’s at.
Anyone for cocktails (or coffee)?
Again, the most preferred way to do business is during the normal 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. time slot (or some variation of that). When that becomes a near impossible feat, you should consider opportunities outside of this designated space. Whether you’re a latte lover or a cocktail connoisseur, several business discussions can be had over a refreshing beverage. And, taking time for a drink break can be quick and to-the-point – allowing you and your client to make it to your next meeting, call or engagement with little or no sweat.
Let’s face it, it’s sometimes a struggle to make time for meetings and phone calls. But when your business is grounded in building strong, solid relationships, you have to think outside of the box – and in this case, outside of the office!