Marketing isn’t everything. As ironic as that may seem coming from a marketing agency, it is the truth.
Having strategies for getting new clients is extremely necessary. However, where a lot of businesses have dropped the ball, is they don’t know how to retain their current clients.
Client retention is almost as necessary, if not more necessary than marketing for new clients.
Why is this the case you may ask…
Number one: Trust for your business.
Number two: Loyalty for your business.
The reason why so many businesses have waves of clients coming in and out, and cannot scale, is because they have not truly developed the art of client relationships.
Like any other relationship, client relationships require feeding, nurturing, patience, and time.
Here are 3 crucial strategies to implement into your business now, that are quick, easy, and extremely effective to develop and maintain client relationships:
- Say/Do Ratio (Integrity)
Whatever your product or service may be, any client will be more inclined to invest in someone who is reliable and able to stick to their word.
This may seem like an obvious fact to most people in leadership roles in a business/company.
However, when there are team members hired, who have not gone through training on how to maintain and develop client relationships, they will most likely not carry along the vision.
Wanting to please a client, many, oftentimes, give clients responses at the moment to satisfy requests but do not follow through.
This can be as simple as responding to an email on time or giving them a call back at the time requested. Although these things may seem minuscule and irrelevant compared to the magnitude of the rest of the business’ responsibilities, these are the small areas that clients remember and cherish when trusting a business.
Be sure to implement these expectations to team members when they get hired to ensure your business is being represented with integrity. Setting these standards, in the beginning, is what will create the culture for the rest of their time there.
To ensure this standard, and to take it a step further, you can even create a customer promise where customers are able to report back to the company if their needs are not being met at the time given.
This will put healthy pressure on the team to stick to integrity, as well as, give the client confidence that their needs will be met.
This is called the say/do ratio. Meaning as many times as your company says they will do something they actually follow through and do it. Your goal as a company should be to make sure the say/do ratio is as small as possible at all times, ideally at a 1:1 ratio.
- The Power of Gift-Giving
Many say you can’t buy somebody’s love… well, that might be different in this case.
Just kidding, we don’t expect you to buy your clients love, however, gift-giving could be extremely beneficial when maintaining client relationships.
Now you may be thinking to yourself “why would I utilize gift-giving when I want my client to invest in my business”. Three letters: R.O.I.
The return on investment for gifting small things throughout the time your client is with you, is oftentimes extremely worth it.
When done properly your clients will not see this so much as you buy them into your business, but more so as you are conscious and thoughtful about them.
To be sure this is being done in the proper manner, the best way to do this is to keep note of significant times in your clients lives. This includes birthdays, anniversaries, milestones, and maybe even death dates that are significant to your client.
(A great book to read to implement thoughtful gift-giving is Giftology by John Ruhlin)
On these dates, a small and thoughtful gift being sent to them shows a sense of meaningfulness from the company and shows that you care not only about the business they bring you, but you also care about them as people.
This leads me to the next and last point…
- Merge the Professional Relationship with a more Personal one.
We are breaking barriers here (pun intended) and going against the grain with this one. However, this will be crucial.
Don’t be afraid to be authentic and develop a personal relationship along with your professional one.
The issue that many professionals have with this is they become too personal with their clients and it can sometimes cause problems when things go wrong in their personal lives.
The trick to doing this the right way is to limit how personal you get with your client. Similar to social media, only put out what you are okay with people seeing. In your business, whatever you are okay with people knowing, is what you should be willing to tell your client.
Things like Birthdays, Gatherings, Milestones in the company, etc. are topics that could and should be discussed with your client. This will make them more comfortable to expose these things with you for future acknowledgment such as gift giving and recognition.
Adding a personal touch to each conversation with a client will naturally make your client more trusting of you, and will add human authenticity to your company. This is something many companies have not yet perfected and will allow your clients to be more trusting of you compared to competing companies.
Although many of these tactics may push the envelope in the professional market, they are all proven tactics that will guarantee better client relationships. Begin making these changes now!