The Upside

The 3 C’s of Great Client Relationships

At my wedding, my father-in-law made a memorable speech about the 3 Cs…

…and it always stuck with me.

He said, “To maintain a strong marriage, you need the 3 Cs: Communication, Commitment and Compromise. If one of these breaks down, the whole marriage breaks down. It’s just that simple.”

And almost 13 years of marriage later, I can say for sure that he was 100% right.

But this email isn’t about marriage. It’s about business and how the 3Cs are 100% relevant in client relationships as well. Hear me out…

To maintain a strong client relationship, you need:


Without strong communication, the client relationship breaks down. This means:

✔️Setting up a system for consistent meetings, conversations and feedback

✔️Being honest, clear and direct about what you need for a successful engagement

✔️Communicating your value and asking for what you deserve


Without commitment on both ends, it’s impossible to achieve the client’s end goal. This means:

✔️Commitment on their part to pay you on time and in full

✔️Commitment on your end to ensure you help the client reach their goals

✔️Commitment to have one another’s best interests in mind


As with any successful relationship, compromises will need to be made. Compromises like:

✔️Meeting in the middle on contract terms in order to get the deal signed

✔️Paying you what the project is worth, not necessarily what their budget dictates

✔️Being flexible around the clients’ changing needs (because needs can change!)

Anytime you’re questioning the health or longevity of a client relationship, reflect back on this email to see which of the 3 Cs is the weakest link. 

I can assure you that this is the secret to client success!

My father-in-law passed away in 2018 right after Thanksgiving and although my time with him was cut short, he left me with a treasure trove of wisdom that I reflect on daily. 

And now, I get to pass that wisdom on to you as well.

Erin Halper

About the Author

Erin Halper is the founder and CEO of The Upside and the leading authority on independent consulting. Since launching The Upside in 2017, Erin has helped thousands of professionals transition from corporate life into consulting to achieve flexibility, autonomy, and a renewed sense of purpose in their careers.

Erin has been a frequent speaker at Columbia, NYU, Harvard, and Brown and has been featured as a leading future of work expert on dozens of podcasts as well as in Forbes, Business Insider, Nasdaq, Crunchbase and many more.

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