For those of us in the repeat sales business, making our customers feel special is critical. It’s why they probably bought from you in the first place. You took the time to listen to their concerns and needs. You then found a solution to fill that need, and they understood you could help them. They gave you their checking account information and pay monthly for your services. And then they don’t hear from you until the yearly review is up or you need to collect more money.
Sound familiar? I know I’ve fallen into that rut before. And its understandable. We are all busy trying to grow our businesses. We have to stay in front of prospects and be filling our pipeline. There is only so much time in the day. But, if you want to build a sustainable business, you’ll need to nurture the clients you have. Keeping existing clients costs less than trying to find new ones. And you can’t nurture the relationship if your client feels like its transactional.
Clients will leave you if they aren’t tied to you. (Unless they are strictly motivated by price, but they aren’t desirable clients anyway.) With technology changing and industries being revolutionized every day, those of us that can build the relationship skills will always have a job and a business. We’ve already seen this in the insurance and mortgage industries. People can apply online for insurance and mortgages and the whole process is being streamlined. There is less need for the order-taking agents. The ones that keep business on the books and create lasting relationships with their clients are still needed for the more complex deals. How are you going to stay on top?
Does your business have a strategy for customer communication? How many times are your clients hearing from you every year? What are you saying in those correspondences? I’m sure most of you send out snail mail with announcements and birthday messages, but in a highly competitive world, you have to go beyond that. It can all get a little tricky, but I’ve broken the correspondence down into three categories:
- The obvious thank-you letter for new clients and the not-so-obvious follow-up letter a month later. I would assume that all of you send a hand-written thank you card to your new customers. Something simple with a personalized message about why they bought from you. What most people forget about is the referral piece. New clients are more likely to refer you than older ones because they just went through the process and it’s on their mind. Take advantage of that.
- Social media interaction. Did you know that the only reason you’re on social media isn’t to gain follower for your business?!?! The best way to really get to know and interact with your clients is by following them on social media. Some people can get weird about their profiles, but so many people have public accounts and their own businesses. If it’s okay with them, follow and keep up with what’s going on in their lives and businesses. It’ll make them feel like you care. (Which you do.) Do this on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Events. No matter what your business budget is, everyone can host an event. It should be an event that your target clientele will be interested in. Throwing an event just to throw one isn’t productive. Most business people throw holiday parties and attend community events, but hosting a few special events to give your clients a reason to see you is critical. Even showing how you give back to causes close to your best clients’ hearts can go a long way.
This list isn’t all-encompassing, but it’ll give you a great start towards interacting with your clients without the expectation of a transaction and sale. As always, schedule time to do this or have your assistant automate it. Making your clients feel special by paying attention to them. In this social world, it’s what they expect and respond to.