Successful businessowners can tell you who their first client was, and chances are they still serve that client today. Business success relies heavily upon establishing long-term relationships. These relationships go beyond the one-time sale; they provide value to clients on a regular basis. Companies that work on long-term relationships with clients have higher revenues since it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new client than to cultivate an existing client. But more importantly, the longer you serve your clients the better you come to know their needs and goals and in turn, cater your services to meet their needs. Here are some tips for developing productive and long-term client relationships.
Simply giving your clients what is included in your ‘contract’ is not enough, you must show them value too. Make it a point to provide meaningful content and resources to them. Sending them a monthly newsletter that isn’t directed at getting a sale out of them is a highly effective method. The more useful information you can provide them, the more they will view your business as an authority of knowledge. Give them more than expected so you add the “wow” factor.
All relationships thrive on establishing honesty. Be open and honest with your client at all times. Clients will be able to see through manipulation or white lies so don’t risk it. Always discuss all fees for your products and services. No one likes to be surprised with it comes to their money.
Celebrate and reward your clients
Businesses commonly make the mistake of focusing their energy on securing new clients. Established clients should be honored for their loyalty. Reward them with a rewards program, discounts, special offers, etc. A handwritten thank you note is a sincere way of making sure your client feels valued. These programs are effective because they directly reward customers who have chosen to build a relationship with your business. These programs also make your clients feel a part of your business—they give them a sense of purpose and value.
Social media is a great tool for relationship marketing. It allows you to be interactive, yet takes the pressure off your customer to react. They can use the information presented as they please without feeling like someone will be calling them to follow up or try and sell them something. Social media also allows your client to ask questions, talk to other clients and respond to news or offers at their leisure.
Treat your customers like people, not an invoice
Personal connections are the golden rule and should be applied with every client. This goes above and beyond by showing you care about each person you work with and their successes. If you are cultivating your client relationships in all the right ways, you are building a partnership with the client.
A client who determines you are in it for the long haul will view you more as a partner rather than a vendor of services. If you incorporate these tips, your clients will see you as someone they can grow to value today and the days to come. Follow this advice and clients will give & refer business for years to come.
K. Justin Restaino is vice president of Titan List & Mailing Services Inc. For more than 13 years, he has led Titan’s Mortgage Division, helping lenders of all capacities grow their businesses utilizing targeted direct mail. With a specialized focus in refinance and purchase markets, Restaino has the insight for proper data and mail application for success. He may be reached by phone at (800) 544-8060, ext. 204 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.