Struggling to build client relationships can be comparable to rolling a boulder uphill. But once you get that force of loyalty behind you, you will find the uphill battle gets easier. Like with everything in business, strengthening a loyal customer base takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight at networking events. A pocketful of business cards isn’t going to do the trick.
Consistent connection and value are what drive and support client relationships. You can achieve this feat by incorporating the following tactics into your client-building approach:
1. Focus on building your network
Who is your network? Your network is comprised of your professional peers, colleagues, acquaintances, partners, vendors, contractors, consultants, association members, community members. Don’t forget existing and prospective clients, friends, family and other relatives. In this business, you understand the meaning of investment. Think of networking as a long-term investment. You are connecting with people who are potentially waiting for you to meet their needs. Keep adding value to the initial relationship to strengthen it and watch for results.
2. Open the lines of communication early and often
You were enthusiastic and convincing at your business association’s happy hour. But don’t expect that one-time impression to take you to grand places. These types of relationships carry an expiration date. Don’t expect a one-time event to go very far in building relationships. Follow up and follow up again. Think of this way, when a person is ready to buy a home or know of someone else who’s shopping for a lender, will you be at the top of his or her mind? Not unless you take the time to stay in touch and offer education and value in the relationship.
3. Recognize your loyal customers, and they will reward you
It’s a proven fact that your most profitable customers are repeat customers. Are you doing enough to encourage them to recommend you and work with you again? Are you staying in touch and giving them some value? It doesn’t need to be a whole lot—nuggets of helpful information or money-saving tips go a long way.
4. Loyal customers are your brand ambassadors
Concentrate on growing your network and following up. E-mail marketing is an effective way to reach them without a lot of cost. Social marketing is also very effective in reaching clients and potential clients to deliver valuable information while engaging with them to evaluate their needs.
Chad Jampedro is chief operating officer of Brookfield, Wis.-based GSF Mortgage Corporation. He may be reached by phone at (888) 834-6655 or e-mail [email protected]