what is a relationship manager?

As a relationship manager, you build relationships with customers and clients. You nurture new relationships to build business opportunities and maintain existing ones. You always represent the company’s interest to ensure clients’ needs are met. 

While some relationship managers focus on nurturing relationships, others develop sales plans to meet client needs. You identify your client's pain points and build marketing strategies to help them address those issues. You also manage internal relationships by resolving conflicts between team members and promoting internal relationships. Since you are integral to the company's norms and policies, you consistently strive to encourage a culture of collaboration.

Relationship managers work in diverse industries since they handle the connections between businesses and their stakeholders. Some industries you are likely to work in include banking and financial services, energy, defence, government, mining and construction.

Working as a relationship manager requires exceptional communication skills, including conflict resolution and active listening. Empathising with your clients enables you to understand their needs.

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average salary of a relationship manager

Many factors affect the salary of a relationship manager. For example, location, education & company can affect the salary. At the entry level, you earn an average salary of $120,000 - $130,000 annually. Experienced employees earn over $150,000 per year.

how to increase the salary of a relationship manager

As a relationship manager, your average remuneration package depends on your education. You are likely to earn more when you have relevant tertiary qualifications. Your work experience also improves your earnings. You can negotiate a higher remuneration package if you have a solid background in sales, customer service or marketing. Work experience improves your skills and hands-on experience in dealing with clients. Hence, employers are willing to pay more for your expertise.

Your employer also dictates your salary expectations; working in a large organisation improves your prospects. Some industries offer higher remuneration than others. For example, a relationship manager working for financial services or information technology is likely to earn more due to the complexity of the role. Working in central areas also increases your salary.

Want to know what you will earn as a relationship manager? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

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types of relationship managers

Some of the types of relationship managers include:

  • client relationship managers: as a client relationship manager, you facilitate connections between a company and the people it serves. That means you focus on creating and building trust with clients to encourage positive interactions and loyalty.
  • business relationship managers: as a business relationship manager, you deal with the internal teams that aid a company's success. For instance, you develop relationships with suppliers, stakeholders or government departments to boost their interaction with the company. Your main role is to maintain positive ties to help streamline contracts and negotiations.
two people having a conversation in a restaurant
two people having a conversation in a restaurant

working as a relationship manager

Working as a relationship manager involves making connections and promoting positive stakeholder relationships. Let's explore a relationship manager's specific duties, work schedules and career prospects.


education and skills

Relationship managers don't require tertiary qualifications to perform their duties, but the following educational qualifications boost your employment prospects:

  • bachelor's degree: to become a relationship manager, consider pursuing a bachelor's degree in marketing, management or business. The bachelor's degree takes three years of full-time study and requires the completion of Year 12 qualifications.
  • work experience: to attain the position of a relationship manager, you require relationship-building and customer service skills. You can take up entry-level roles in customer service, sales and administration to prepare you for greater responsibilities.

skills and competencies

As a relationship manager, you build connections between individuals. Hence, most employers pay attention to the following transferrable skills and qualities:

  • communication skills: as a strong communicator, you foster healthier relationships with your clients. Good communication skills help you present information professionally when interacting with executive leaders.
  • empathy: empathising with other people's feelings enables you to understand their perspective. For instance, if a client is dissatisfied with a product, you aim to understand their frustration and identify a solution that makes them feel valued. Placing yourself in your client's shoes helps you develop marketing strategies that meet their needs.
  • conflict resolution skills: you require conflict resolution skills to diffuse a range of situations, handle issues between people and help them agree. For instance, you are sometimes responsible for solving disputes between sales representatives and customers. Since you are in charge of internal teams, you use your conflict management skills to foster good relationships within the company.
  • active listening skills: you should be an active listener to understand the message a client is conveying. You can also understand a client's needs and goals if you pay attention. Active listening skills help you ask the right questions and get the necessary information from clients.
  • problem-solving skills: as a relationship manager, you deal with complaints about the company's product. If a client is dissatisfied, you find out what the problem is and find solutions.

FAQs about working as a relationship manager

Here are the most asked questions about working as a relationship manager:

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