Why New Consultants Should Start Building Long-Term Client Relationships


Consultants are outside professionals who are contracted by a client business. They provide guidance and support and overcome challenges that are outside of the client’s typical scope. When new consultants enter the field, it can be easy for them to develop tunnel vision. Many focus on delivering as short-term successes as they can to ‘prove themselves’ in this new industry.

Yet, short term results are not everything. Consultants must balance short term “wins” with the broader vision and strategy for their impact to be felt long-term. Part of this is establishing relationships with clients and colleagues. Trusted relationships forge the path towards establishing long-term clients.  

As it turns out, there are many benefits to building these relationships. These include securing a steady stream of work and building out your network. These relationships are often built on simple practices. For example, taking an interest in your client, looking for more areas to help, and simply being a reliable partner that cares about the client’s success.

Why Should I Do It?

So, why should we focus on building these relationships? Is there any unique benefit to working with one client for a long time verses working for several clients for shorter engagements?

It may not seem like there is a significant difference between these two scenarios. However, there are several reasons why long-term client relationships are worth investing in as a new consultant.

Steady Stream of Work

Sustaining a steady stream of work is vital to being a successful consultant.  This is true whether you’re consulting by yourself or through a consulting firm. By building a long-term relationship with a client, you are providing the framework for that steady stream of work.

Odds are that there’s more than one area of a client’s business that you could be an asset to. When a client trusts that you’re able to deliver results in one area, they’re far more likely to trust you in other areas.

Expanding Your Network

One often overlooked benefit to consulting is engaging with professionals from a wide range of industries. Even connections gained from one-off engagements may be valuable. But, connections with long-term clients are especially important early in your career.

These sorts of relationships can open up doors to more work later down the road. They can also serve as mentors and references as your career evolves and you evolve with it.

How Should I Do It?

Now that we know why pursuing these long-term relationships is important, the question naturally arises, “How can I do this?” 

Long-term relationships are, by their nature, not something that just develops overnight. It takes months and even years of slow, dedicated work to build these up. Fortunately, by implementing a few simple practices now you can start moving in the right direction and help you excel every step of the way.

Take an Interest in Your Client and Their Success

This can seem like a no-brainer, but simply showing an interest in your client’s entire business, you pave the way for a long-term relationship. It communicates that you’re truly invested in their success, not just looking good for one project. 

A great way to do this is to ask questions about your work and how it connects to the business as a whole. This helps you tailor your suggestions and solutions to better meet their overall needs. Not only that, it also shows that you’re thinking about the big picture and how you can better serve their entire business.

Look for Areas Where You Excel

While discovering more about your client’s business, you may discover other areas where you could be an asset to them. If that is the case, offering your services in those areas can drive your relationship forward. 

Showing how your skills can apply to different business problems can put you on their radar. Whenever they have a problem that requires someone with your skills, you’ll be one of the first people to come to mind.

Be Reliable

Finally, the most crucial ingredient to long-term relationships is reliability. While it may seem obvious, it’s easy to forget the importance of things like being punctual and meeting deadlines. These are vital towards making sure your client actually wants a long-term relationship with you.

By focusing on consistency, you position yourself as a responsible teammate and long-term asset to your client.


It may not initially occur to new consultants to start developing long-term client relationships. Yet, it’s important for you to commit to building said relationships early in your career. Doing so not only opens more opportunities to do work for that client, it also helps to build out your network. These will pay off throughout your career.

It can take a while to build up these relationships, but instilling some basic habits can help. Taking an interest in your client, looking for other ways to help, and being reliable can go a long way towards making those relationships work.

EIT values its consultants and clients and works towards encouraging long-term relationships between them. If you’re looking to get into consulting, check out our openings and opportunities here.