10 Client Relationship Manager Skills and How to Develop Them

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 March 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Client relationship managers handle interactions with an organisation's clients. They seek client satisfaction by ensuring that the organisation meets the clients' needs and making plans to accomplish company and client goals. If you're interested in a career in client relationship management, it may be beneficial to understand the skills they use to succeed in their roles. In this article, we share a list of 10 client relationship manager skills and provide tips for developing them.

10 client relationship manager skills

Client relationship manager skills describe the abilities they use to accomplish their job responsibilities. Client relationship skills can help these professionals build strong connections with the businesses and individuals with which they work, allowing them to become successful in their roles. To help you understand more about these abilities, consider this list of 10 skills:

1. Negotiation

Negotiation skills include the ability to influence another's decision-making process and find mutually beneficial compromises between two or more parties. Client relationship managers can use these skills to establish a business relationship with new clients and negotiate terms of service between the company for which they work and the client. These skills are especially helpful when determining the price of services and other contract details, such as the initial length of the relationship.

It's helpful to have an adequate amount of industry knowledge as you can use this information to validate your requests. Possessing emotional intelligence can also be helpful in the development of negotiation skills. This is because emotional intelligence can allow you to consider other perspectives, which can both help you suggest compromises and understand the needs of others.

2. Communication

Communication skills include the ability to perform written, verbal and nonverbal interactions with others. Client relationship managers use their communication skills to maintain a relationship with their clients, including updating them on important aspects of a project and performing check-ins to ensure customer satisfaction. Depending on a client's preferences, these professionals may provide written communication like emails and reports or phone calls and in-person meetings.

To develop communication skills, try to interact with others often. It may be helpful to schedule time each day to communicate with clients. When communicating with others, it's helpful to determine their preferred method of contact. This can help encourage the professional to respond to your message and help you keep regular communication with them.

Related: How to Improve Communication Skills (With Definition and Examples)

3. Motivation

When professionals have motivational skills, they can often encourage other professionals to perform certain tasks. This can also boost company morale and help ensure the organisation's success. Client relationship managers use motivational skills to interact with clients and influence team leaders to find ways to achieve their client's goals. Having this skill set may allow these professionals to prompt others within their organisation to reach client goals at a quick and consistent rate, which encourages clients to continue their relationship with the company.

Developing leadership skills while trying to strengthen your motivational skills is often helpful, as leaders are usually responsible for motivating others. It's also beneficial to gain an understanding of others so you can identify what may motivate them. Offering genuine praise and helpful feedback in a consistent manner can motivate others, so consider adding this to your communication tasks.

4. Creativity

Creativity involves the ability to develop unique ideas and products. It also includes the ability to design, write and follow general rules of aesthetics to create a final product. Client relationship professionals exercise their creative skills when faced with problem-solving scenarios. They may also use these skills to help other teams of professionals create products, marketing materials or services to help reach the client's goals as they may have a better understanding of the client's preferences and requests than other professionals within the organisation.

To develop and practise your creative skills in the workplace, consider activities that may help you revitalise your mind throughout the workday. For example, you could take short walks around the organisation's premises. You can also express your creativity and encourage this skill for your colleagues by hosting brainstorming sessions.

Read more: How to Show Your Creativity at Work (Plus Examples)

5. Honesty

Being honest and transparent with clients can help build trust and sustain valuable relationships. Professionals who work in client relationship manager roles may want to be transparent when the project is experiencing delays or other issues. This can allow clients to participate in problem-solving activities and also ensure they have up-to-date information about the project. A key element of practising honesty is proper communication. To develop a more honest relationship with clients, communicate regularly with them and build a relationship in which they can expect and appreciate your honesty regarding an issue that may affect their project.

6. Research

Research skills describe the process of gathering, interpreting and presenting ideas and information. This is a helpful skill for client relationship managers to have as it helps them find and relate to clients. Clients may be more likely to begin a relationship with an organisation they feel matches their values and acknowledges the unique aspects of their business. Knowing this information about potential clients can help relationship managers develop contracts with new professionals. This skill can also help these professionals create and pitch project plans and strategies for the client.

To develop these skills, it's important to practise critical thinking and gain industry experience. Having these skills can help you determine which sources are most relevant and reliable for your research purposes. It's also important to learn the research report formatting guidelines for your industry as this can help you in the presentation and creation of your project proposal pitches and research reports.

Read more: Research Skills: Definition, Examples and Importance

7. Customer service

Customer service skills involve the efforts of relating to customers or clients and meeting their needs to provide the best possible experience for them. As this is a major aspect of client relationship managers' jobs, it's helpful for them to have customer service skills. These skills can also help professionals maintain a positive attitude while working with clients. This may help in the development of professional relationships. Providing great customer service can often compel clients to re-sign contracts and extend their relationship with organisations.

To develop these skills, consider exercising related skills, such as active listening. Actively listening to a client can help you understand their needs and desires, which makes it easier for you to fulfil them. You might also consider trying to become more friendly and positive at work as it can boost morale and increase your customer service abilities.

8. Analysis

Analysis skills allow professionals to study client behaviours to ensure customer satisfaction in the business relationship. The ability to research, interpret, understand and apply knowledge helps client relationship managers develop new strategies to improve and maintain client relationships. For example, a client relationship manager may use analytical skills to review records of client interactions and analyse which methods were most successful.

To develop analytical skills, it's useful to read and practise critical thinking. This can enhance your comprehension which is an important proficiency when you're analysing data. When pursuing a degree to become a client relationship manager, your courses provide instruction on how to analyse customer data and provide opportunities to practise this skill and improve it.

9. Interpersonal

Interpersonal skills are abilities that help build and maintain relationships, which is the crucial role of a client relationship manager. Client relationship managers may use the ability to emphasise, communicate and be aware of themselves to relate to consumers. These skills help these professionals form strong relationships with clients and promote long-lasting relationships between the client and the company. Being able to empathise with others enables professionals to expect certain behaviours and needs.

You can improve your interpersonal skills by being observant. For example, reading another's body language can show you how they feel and you can react to their feelings. Studying professionals with excellent interpersonal skills may also help develop these abilities.

Related: What Is Interpersonal Communication and Why Is It Important?

10. Strategy and planning

Strategy and planning skills help client relationship managers set goals for themselves and their clients. These skills involve critical thinking, analysis and leadership. The ability to develop strategies helps these professionals identify potential clients and create a plan to approach and convert them into a client of the company. Planning also helps you recognise sales opportunities to upsell to a client. Since one of the primary duties for this job role is to create customer satisfaction goals, these are essential skills.

To develop skills of strategy and planning, learn how to set goals by determining outcomes you can measure and reasonably achieve. Being able to strategise also requires you to create a list of steps or tasks that you can perform to achieve your goal. You can practise this skill by setting short-term goals and developing a series of steps that you can complete to get a specific result.

Explore more articles