Ideally, you want to work with clients who share your values and with whom you connect. If every interaction with a client is like pulling teeth, your job quickly becomes tiresome. However, when you become friends with a business partner, you must be aware of maintaining a sense of professionalism despite your newfound connection. Here are some ways that you can effectively toe the line between friend and business partner:
Be aware of what you say on social media
It’s great if you want to friend your client on Facebook or follow each other on Instagram. But once you do that, you must be conscience of what you’re posting. Yes, they’re your friend, but you also don’t want them questioning your professionalism or your ability to do your job well. If you’re constantly posting about drinking or being hungover, they may start to doubt your ability to meet a deadline. If you aren’t willing to make your social media content more client-friendly, keep your online connection limited to professional sites like LinkedIn.
Everyone has bad days. But if you constantly take to social media to complain about your job (or worse, your clients) then you’re jeopardizing your relationship with your business partners. Save the ranting for your best friend or your mom, and make sure to project positivity on your social media platforms.
Be aware that social gatherings are still business functions
If you get invited to a business partner’s holiday party, enjoy yourself, but be aware that this is still a business function. Take care not to drink too much, and always conduct yourself in a professional manner. You can loosen up and have fun, but you never want to become the talk of the party.
Be careful what you share
No matter how close you feel to your client, you should place a limit on the amount of personal information you share with this person. Even if you don’t care if they know about your weekend escapades, you don’t want them passing these details on to other people. Share enough to build a connection, but don’t give up information that could be damaging to your professional reputation.
How do you navigate a friendship with a client? Let us know in the comments!