You’ve worked hard to close sales, you have amazing clients you love to serve….now how do you keep them? That’s where the concept of nurturing and retaining comes into play. Keeping and growing relationships with an existing, happy client is much less expensive – and frankly, less stressful – than constantly trying to identify and sell to new clients. And if your goal is to grow your client base, you need to keep what you have brought in while still bringing in more clients!
The topics of nurturing and retaining clients can take us down many paths, but for the purposes of today, let’s focus on 3 key areas:
- Expand relationship through service
- Retain clients by getting personal
- Create loyal “ambassadors” by delighting your clients
Focus on service.
Your clients came into your world because you had something they found valuable. Chances are you can help them beyond that one service. Strive to find ways in which you can add value to your clients by meeting more of their needs. Too often we are afraid to be too pushy or too salesy. But if you view it from the perspective of adding value, it’s not salesy – it’s serving.
Help Scout is a great source of information on customer service. In a recent blog post, they shared data from TARP Worldwide that was very revealing. The data shows that customers want to receive recommendations on new information and products if it will help them get better results.
They went on to say that when we help clients see how we can help them get better results, we are educating, not selling. I personally like to think of it as serving. Serving, educating, whatever you call it – the bottom line is that you’re adding value to your cient and giving them reason to expand their relationship with you.
Get to know your clients on a deeper level.
When clients feel like they are more than a number, loyalty soars. This can be done in two ways. You can either learn something personal about your clients or you can get to know about their business needs on a deeper level. Either way, you are building trust and learning how you can better serve them.
There is a charity I like to support. Over the years they’ve gotten to know the names and birthdates of my family members and they now send handwritten birthday cards to us all. I have remained a loyal contributor and have increased my giving. I certainly believe in the work they do, but because they also have paid attention to me as a person, I feel more in line with their values and want to support them even more.
Marketo offers some great information on the topic of nurturing. They also talk about how important it is to build trust. They say, “Today’s potential buyers don’t become customers overnight— they require marketing over time as they self-educate and build trust with a company.” As you build trust, then it’s easier to get to know your client and they are more eager to purchase more from you.
The ways of getting to know your client on a deeper level and the implications of that is a vast subject! It’s a subject I’m really passionate about because I think it’s part of making a great client experience….but I digress.
For today, what I will share is this: There are a lot of complex ways to get to know your clients better. And there are a lot of simple ways. We can talk in another post about more options and how to choose the right technology. But for now I encourage you to try something simple like a brief survey or a question in each blog post. It can even be as simple as sending an email after a purchase asking “Thank you for buying (product/service). We are committed to helping you succeed…how else can we help you with (insert your specialty)”? You’ll be amazed at how many people respond. Keep a spreadsheet with these replies and schedule time once a month to review/act on their suggestions.
Do the unexpected.
When it comes to doing unexpected things for your client to delight them, it has to be, well… unexpected! 🙂 This is not the kind of thing you can plan for every client. This comes from your corporate culture of valuing your customers. Doing unexpected things to delight your clients will turn them into raving fans. I’ll give you two great examples.
I have two puppies and they are resisting potty training (dachshunds are stubborn, ya’ll!). I purchased some carpet cleaner from Chewy.com. A week later I got a handwritten note from them thanking me for my purchase. No solicitation to go with it – just a bright colored, super personal note.
My other story comes from a photographer who teaches online photography. She is in the middle of a very busy launch. One of her students gave birth to her baby early and wants to take newborn pictures of her baby. My friend stopped her launch prep and put together a special private page for this student, with a personalized message, to help her get some amazing pictures of her new baby.
Southwest’s founder said “I tell my employees that we’re in the service business, and it’s incidental that we fly airplanes.” I love this! And I think it’s a great summary when talking about nurturing and retention of clients because in the end, it’s really about staying hyper focused on how you can best serve your tribe in a deeper way.