Value. It’s a buzzword in business that can mean a lot—or a lot of nothing. Everyone has a different definition of value, but in my humble opinion, value isn’t defined by marketers. It’s defined by our clients. What a client cares about is what matters most.

In the world of promotional products, value can mean multiple things—product quality, on-time delivery and customer service, to name a few.

Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today shares 10 ways distributors can drive more value to their clients, based on the expertise of PR 20/20 blogger Jessica Miller.

1. Check in with customers. Call, swing by the office, send a card or reach out in some way other than using email. Even if it’s once a year for a long-distance client, make a point to connect for a few days in person. Talk business, but then be sure to carve out time for dinner, drinks or another activity that fosters a personal relationship. Some of the best ideas can happen on the golf course.

2. Commit to open lines of communication or weekly regroups. By nature, we have limited insight into the inner workings and conversations happening with our clients on the other end of the line. It’s up to the account manager or salesperson to build a relationship and rapport with clients so it’s easy to ask important questions, be copied on priority emails and get invited to those more strategic meetings.

3. Revisit your client’s organizational structure to more fully understand roles and stakeholders. Building relationships throughout an organization positions your business as an extension of the team. Plus, it enables opportunities to add value throughout the organization.

4. Invite feedback. Ask, “How can we bring more value?” Give them a few days to think on it, then dive into a frank conversation. (Tip: Ask yourself this question first, and have your own assessment and responses ready to really make it a worthwhile conversation.)

5. Find out what’s important. Ask your client, “What slide would you love to present to your CEO at your next review?” Then ask how you can help make that happen. Set incremental calendar reminders a few months in advance of your client’s review to ensure your client is prepared, confident and ready-to-go for the meeting.

Source: Jessica Miller is client services director at PR 20/20.