Every business relies on its clients to keep them going. Without clients, you have no business.

But what happens after you have sealed the deal? It's not as easy as a catch 'em and keep 'em game. If you don't want to lose your clients to someone else, you need to start building a relationship with them from day one.

Here are some surefire ways to ensure the relationship is a long and happy one.

1. Be yourself

People want to work with other people, not cookie-cutter robots. Be honest when you speak with your clients, and if it's your personality, don't be afraid to have a little fun. People will spot a phony a mile away, and you don't want it to be you.

2. Listen more than you speak

Make it a point to learn about your client. Find out why they are in business. Learn about their successes and failures and how you might fit in to the equation. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and what they can do, but when it comes to dealing with your clients, remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

3. Give more than you take

Always go above and beyond expectations. Make it easy for them to do business with you. If they need an extra hand, give it to them. They don't have time to come to you? Go to them. Be available and ready to do what it takes to show them you want their business.

4. Follow through

Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it. Be careful not to throw out unintended promises. If your client doesn't get the call or paperwork they expected from you, it will put a sour taste in their mouth.

5. Maintain respect throughout the relationship

Follow the golden rule and treat the client the way you would want to be treated. Always. If you have had a client for five years, they want to be treated just as well as the client you have had for five months or five days. Don't get so comfortable in your relationship that you forget to treat them well. Remember, it's easy for the client to walk away and go for something bigger and better if they are feeling neglected.

6. Know when to apologize

Sometimes, we screw up. We are only human after all. When you miss a deadline or forget to call when you said you would, apologize. Fess up to your mistakes and make it right. Do what it takes to make sure you maintain your client's trust by being honest and showing the initiative to fix it.

Just like any relationship, your business/client relationship takes work. Your clients want you to be honest, attentive, respectful, open and quick to help. Do this and you will quickly gain the reputation as the person to do business with.