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2 Key Traits of Every Successful Client Relationship

What makes a good client relationship? This question often comes to mind for account executives, account managers, and client-facing individuals. It’s a question we here on the CLM account team ask ourselves every day. How do we continue to make our client relationships stronger? Should I ask a potentially dumb question? Is it better to fight for the big ideas and risk failing or simply enjoy the little wins?

Every job I’ve had since high school has centered around customer service, but when I became a new manager over an account and client service team at a software company I was in a whole new world of relationship management. I went in search of tactics to help communicate effectively with my team and our customers to make them the best that they could be. I tried a lot of strategies; some worked, some failed miserably.

I learned quickly that there is no single recipe for success in a relationship between two people, let alone two companies with multiple individuals, ideas, personalities, and priorities. But throughout the years, I did identify two simple behaviors that formed the foundation of my most successful professional relationships: care personally & challenge directly. You can read more about the model at

What it boils down to for me is:

  1. You must care personally about who you’re working with or what you’re working on. In any genuine relationship, you’re going to give your best and always look out for the best interest of the others involved.
  2. You won’t always agree, but if they know you care personally and know you’re challenging for the right reasons, you can follow up with the detailed truth.

Over my last year at CLM, I’ve noticed that our entire team employs these principles as we strive to move every client forward to the successful completion of their goals. I’ve also learned that the best relationships form when this model is reciprocated by our clients. We all benefit when we are committed to learning and growing together.

Jill Moore | Sep 20, 2018