This post was also featured on my LinkedIn Pulse blog.
One of the most reliable ways to build your business in the new year (and always) is simply by staying connected to your clients.
This means more than just shooting them an occasional email to say hi, although that’s also a good practice. Beyond your engagement with them, be intentional and heartfelt about nurturing your relationship, acting as a trusted, valuable resource, ready to offer constructive ideas and input for their own growth.
How to do this? Here are five simple ways:
- Break the News: Being a good consultant, coach or selection specialist always begins with being a good listener. In all of your coaching and consulting you are likely to have heard about the interests, struggles or hobbies of your clients. Keep them in mind, or keep a list of a few for each client. When you see an article that touches on one of these topics, send it on to them with a note explaining why it piqued your interest and made you think of them.
2. Write It Down. A handwritten note to thank them for their business at the end of the year is a very earnest touch. Go deeper by sharing with them what you learned by working with them. Then express your desire to work with them again.
3. Keep Them Up-to-Date. If you’re ready to integrate a new product or service into your business and begin offering it to clients, take this opportunity to make it a value-add to them. Why not select your favorite clients and send them a sneak peak as an end-of-the-year gift? Be sure to subtly mention the value, but reassure them this comes – gratis – in appreciation for their support over the year. Then, set up a time to take them to coffee and share your plans for the rollout. They’ll feel special and like they have the inside track.
4. Make Them A Star. If you host a blog on your website or if you send out a regular newsletter (best practices for all B2B professionals), why not offer your client the chance to share their thoughts through your newsletter or blog? Before you call and invite them to submit, have a topic in mind and a date for them to submit. Think of yourself as a newspaper editor and make them feel like the star columnist. Be sure to post on your social media platforms about their blog or article once it is live! Share how many likes, comments or shares it receives, too.
5. Rave About Their Referrals. If you had a client who sent you a referral who became a client this year, set that person apart in your mind – and in your actions. Make a special phone call to thank them for the referral. Think about how that referral impacted your business and then share with your client how much the additional business meant to you. There’s nothing like a hearing how you have helped another person to give you a warm, satisfied feeling.
While these five strategies may seem basic, when done in an authentic and thoughtful way, they will have a big impact on the hearts of your clients. And the heart is the place where your connection to your client begins and builds. Period.
And if you need research to back that up, well, fine:
Doing so will set you apart. According to Forrester Research, a paltry 37 percent of brands received good or excellent customer experience scores in 2012. There’s lots of room for you to stand out.
It will build your business. According to research by Bain & Co., a 10 percent increase in customer retention levels resulted in a 30 percent increase in the value of the companies it studied.
Expression is good for your health. According to research by Dr. Kory Floyd of Arizona State University, communicating our positive feelings for others through words or actions lowers stress hormones, cholesterol, and blood pressure and builds up our immune system.
Instead of just scanning through this list, why not set aside time on your calendar as this year comes to a close to make these things happen. Call it your “Client Love Day” and put in the hours for them – and for the future of your business.
P.S. What are your favorite ways to show client love? Tell me! I love comments!