It is an age-old process. You acquire a client. You service the client and, when the contract expires, you lose the client to a competitor who can do it faster or cheaper. But in truth, it is the actions you take while you have the client that are most important. Your job is to make that client so loyal and dependent on your company and the services you provide, that the mere thought of leaving you for someone else makes them physically nauseous. Impossible you say? Think again. Here are five things you can do to keep the clients you never want to lose.
- Always be (Up) Selling. So, you landed the client. Great! Now what? They’ve signed their contract so there is nothing left to be done, right? Wrong. Remember, your client selected you for a reason. They trusted your company and the services you provide above all others. Now, your job is to make sure that, by the time their renewal arrives, they are so ingratiated in your services, they wouldn’t think of leaving. Therefore, you must always be looking for ways to enhance the services your company provides to your client, while keeping their best interests as a priority. What are their needs? What are their pains? Is your product or service addressing those issues? Can they? If the answer is yes, then why aren’t you talking to your clients about this now? Do not wait until it is time to renew. Make them aware you have the capability to ease their pain now. They will thank you for it!
- Don’t Take Your Client for Granted. It is so easy to move on to the next prospect, after the contract is signed. But you must have the mindset that the journey with your new client is not done. In fact, it is only the beginning. It is imperative you take the same amount of time with new clients as you did when they were a prospect. Schedule yourself to make regular calls with them to check up on how they are doing. Are there any concerns or difficulties they are having with your service or product?
- Find out what you can do for them. Even if the answer is “nothing”, they will appreciate the fact that you checked in.
- Date Your Client. When you are dating someone, you go all out to impress them. You take them to the nicest restaurants, get them into the hottest concerts and take them on the best weekend getaways. However, an unfortunate fact is that after marriage, we tend to stop trying as hard. They are locked in now and they’re not going anywhere, right? The truth is, the partnership with your client, just like your romantic relationship, can end if the other party feels neglected. You set the bar high when you were trying to move your prospect through the sales funnel, but now that is done. Quite suddenly, you have stopped the kind gestures and expressions of your appreciation. You have made it painfully obvious it was all a ruse to get their signature on your contract. Now, it is six months later. They have not heard from you since the day the contract was signed, and they can’t wait to be rid of you at the first opportunity.
- Instead, why not “date” your client as you would your spouse - not in the romantic sense, of course, but in a way that shows them you hold value in their relationship with you and your company. Random acts of kindness do wonders. Keep up with what is going on in their personal life, if possible and respond to major events. Did their child graduate? Send them a card or gift. Is a loved one sick? Show them you actually care about their well-being, and they are not just a number. Taking the time to do these small things will ensure loyalty and appreciation down the road.
- Put Yourself in the Client’s Shoes. In every interaction with your client, try to imagine their point of view. If you were them, how would you perceive any given situation? Ask yourself hard questions like, “Would I sign a contract with me if I were them?” If the answer is no, find out why. If you wouldn’t do business with you, why should they? Allowing yourself to see other points of view will help dramatically in resolving any conflict that may arise and, again, show them you care more about the relationship than making a buck.
- It’s Not About the Renewal. It’s About the Relationship. All these points boil down to the fact that if you have a strong relationship with your client, you won’t have to worry about the renewal. In any relationship, a person leaves when they don’t feel valued, heard or appreciated. Business relationships are no different. If you keep that in mind, your client list is destined to look more like a thriving tower, rather than a revolving door.