I’ve given three presentations in the past week or so to different groups, and have gotten great reviews, which certainly make me feel great.  More importantly, though, is making sure the relationship doesn’t end with the last slide.

Here are a few hints to help you maintain the relationship with your clients, and make sure you’re worthy of a recommendation:

1.  Thank them for the opportunity in person and follow up by email.  A brief thank you along with asking whether they would like a copy of any information you presented (slides, handouts, etc.) makes sure they have what they’ve asked for in hiring you in the first place.

2.  If you are getting paid, make sure you have all the paperwork ready when you present, so you can hand them any w-9’s, invoices or anything else at the time of service delivery.  This is professional, and connects the service with the payment, and no one is waiting around for any documentation afterwards.

3.  If they were happy, consider asking for a recommendation for your LinkedIn profile, or your website.  This helps you build your business and you can get it done while the information is fresh in everyone’s mind.

4. Make sure you give the client actionable steps, and let them follow up with you if they have any questions.  If someone has paid me to speak, I make sure I make myself available for any questions they have after the talk.  This allows us to continue our conversation and relationship, and the more helpful I am, the more likely they will be to recommend me to their friends and colleagues.

There’s nothing better than word of mouth, so being someone who is a good presenter, helpful and courteous will make you stand out from the crowd.  Your reputation is your most important asset, so make sure yours is the best it can be.  Whether you consult for businesses, provide a service, or even sell goods, the more personal you can be to customers, the better the reputation you will have, and the greater chance for repeat business for everyone involved.

It seems almost too simple to be true, but being honest, trustworthy, and helpful is a winning combination.