We live in a world where it’s so easy to reach out and communicate over long distances. Email, Text, Skype, Facebook, Zoom and Linked In.
The paradox is that we spend less time face to face with people, whilst still feeling like we’re in touch. It’s hard to maintain long distance relationships with friends and family. But what about nurturing relationships with clients?
You need to have regular contact with your client list in order to run a successful business long term. If you’re not communicating with your past, present, and future clients consistently, someone else will step in and fill the void.
And that’s bad for business.
Critical Reason #1: You Need More than One Basket of Eggs as One is Never Enough
In order to have a steady foundation to stand on, you need to be able to generate and nurture new clients as well as keep in touch with your existing client base.
There’s always one client that’s your favourite. They’re great to work with. You suggest, they implement. They come to you with a problem and you have a solution. They keep coming back time after time and it’s all so effortless.
But what happens when they don’t need you anymore? You’ve neglected the rest of your client list and you find yourself starting from scratch again.
You need to be able to nurture and sustain relationships with multiple clients at once. Relying on a small number of clients for your income is tempting fate. Have more than 40% of your work coming from one client and you’re in trouble.
If you’ve got a client list of 50-100 people. You should be speaking/communicating to all those people at least one a quarter. Or you may lose them.
Critical Reason #2: Don’t lose clients to competition
Part of good client relationships is reminding people who you are and what you can deliver. So they remember you when someone else reaches out.
There’s always going to be competition. Someone with a new offer. A cheaper rate. A shiny bonus offer. Great communication with your clients means that rather than just jumping at the chance to work with someone new, they’re likely to come and talk to you about it.
A building client, Steve, went to see a customer who started to haggle on price. Because they had an open communication channel, they were able to discuss the situation and come to an understanding.
Steve was able to explain the value they’re getting because of all the extra services he provides behind the scenes. He was able to get the customer to see that the difference in price was a quality focus and quality work rather than just price.
And Steve kept the client.
This was only possible because Steve was reaching out to his list on a regular basis. This client was confident enough to reach out to Steve and ask why the prices was so different and give him the opportunity to explain the price difference. The client was not aware of the behind the scenes work that was being done and some of the inclusions not specifically listed in the quote.
Keeping communication channels open and engaging your clients regularly puts you ahead of your competition.
Critical Reason #3: Increase customer value and client lifecycle.
Instead of always going out to get new clients. It’s cheaper to keep them and upsell.
Based on what I’ve seen with my clients, those that are actively communicating with their customer base encourage repeat business. It’s much easier to stay connected. Those who aren’t actively reaching out find that business is slipping through their fingers regularly.
Clients respond when you encourage longevity in your relationship. It’s much easier to upsell to existing clients that trust you. When they buy more of your product range, they automatically learn more about your business.
Chasing new clients constantly is exhausting. Appreciate and nurture the ones you have, and they will recommend you to everyone they meet.
How To Implement Effective Communication.
In today’s world keeping in touch is easier than ever. Email and text have become the go to.
The problem with this is that people are real. People value face to face or verbal communications.
It’s easy to forget that there needs to be a human element in a relationship for it to be sustainable.
1: Create a cycle
Depending on the frequency of transaction that takes place, it could be a monthly call or quarterly call. A survey you send out every quarter. It could be 5 questions you write down you ask a team member to call and ask. If you were to work out how many customers, you had and split them into a cycle it would probably be a 1 hour a week proposition
Just to check in and make sure we’re delivering.
It doesn’t have to take a lot of your precious time. Make an appointment in your diary every week to address this and do it.
2: Systematise it.
Create a system for it. CRM. Paper diary. Something in a financial package. Something you could have printed on your invoice.
Nurturing the relationship is what’s important. Be honest, and they will return the gesture.
Loyal clients will help you grow your business. They ask if you can help with something you’ve never thought of offering? There’s an opportunity to create a new product range.
Putting energy into your long-term relationships with amazing clients is one of the best things you can do to ensure your success.
SO, make that appointment in your diary now. Reach out. You never know – there may be more business on the way simply because you called to say “Hi, how are you?”