If someone asked you to pick your best clients on the spot, could you do it? Can you name your top five right now? If so, you’re doing pretty well. If not, then you better re-assess where things stand with all your clients.
If I were to ask what you’ve been doing for those “special” clients to let them know how much you value their business, would you have anything to tell me? Are you letting them know that they mean a lot to you – or are you taking them for granted? What happens if you lose them tomorrow, or next month? How hard would it be to replace them?
Remember: Retaining an existing client is far easier than the effort and time you have to spend on trying to find new clients. If you’ve been treating your best clients like any other, while enjoying the repeat, long-term business or the referrals that they’ve given you – then shame on you.
I’m not saying you aren’t serving them well just by giving them the 110 percent that you’re likely already providing. That alone should make them feel appreciated, and if they’re a repeat customer it’s obvious that they like your work. But in these economic times, going that extra mile can differentiate you from that second-tier option that you know they’ve at least investigated in order to possibly save some money.
What you want to do, is further distance yourself from their No. 2 choice by doing something more. That can be anything from making yourself so proprietarily important that the customer can’t turn to anyone else, to making a personal connection with your key decision-making contact (and no, I’m not referring to anything bad, explicit or illegal).
In this two part series, I’m going to discuss five things that you can do to let your best customers know where they stand and how much you value your continued working relationship. We’ll start with these two:
Reach Out Even When You’re Not Working with Them
Yes, reach out — and not just on holidays. You need to contact your best clients more frequently than that. You need to make sure they remember you and they know they’re important because you haven’t forgotten them. I make it a point to reach out to my best clients on a quarterly basis. The projects I handle for them may be two years apart, but they never go more than three months without at least some sort of contact from me.
Send Them New Business Whenever Possible
Be thinking of ways you can help out your best clients, but remember the best way is to help their bottom line by sending them new customers. If you’re attending a trade show or conference, you can spread the word about their business or products. Make sure that you pass out your business card; hopefully your client will find out where this reference came from. Those get you bonus points.
In my next post, we’ll review three more ways you can make your most important customers feel valued. In the meantime, share your approach in the comments below.