We have all heard that its five times harder to find a new client than it is to keep hold of an existing one. Below we cover a few tips of how to help keep clients on board.
Be patient in building new relationships.
Relationships take time. Resist indulging in disingenuous schmoozing, as it can be a severe put-off. Instead, take the time to get to know your client, and share a little bit of yourself. Most importantly, remember that your work for your client is paramount in building a relationship. At the end of the day, no amount of personal connection can substitute for great work.Get to know their company, visit their website and find out the latest news and what projects they have just won.
Go the extra mile.
As you grow your business and your client relationships, there will be times that you’ll have to make a decision on when to adjust or expand your core offerings to cater to the needs of a client. The benefits of offering customized solutions are two-fold: 1) clients remember the times you came through for them and 2) it may open up additional revenue streams and new offerings you had not previously considered.
Treat every client as your most important one.
Simply put, happy clients are more likely to make referrals to other sites or projects the company is working on. Provide all clients with your best service, regardless of whether they are a large national construction firm or a small builder. You never know who your clients may know or to whom they will refer you. Just as importantly, when they switch jobs, either within their company or to a new one, you want to be the partner they recommend to their new team. Lastly, it is important to remember that today’s small companies could be the big companies of tomorrow, and it’s incredibly fulfilling to be a trusted partner fueling that growth.
We touched on this briefly in another blog but when a client emails you, acknowledge the receipt of the email as quickly as possible, even if you do not have the answer they are looking for. You will give them comfort by simply acknowledging the receipt of their request and by communicating that you’re on it. This may seem like a no-brainer, but people often worry about having the right answer, and as a result, they forget to acknowledge that they are on the case.
Be more than an email address.
Despite its prevalence in business today, email communication can often be misconstrued, especially during stressful situations, if senders and recipients do not know each other well. Use other channels to help shed light on who you are. Consider a phone call, Skype or an in-person meeting to put a face (or voice) to a name. Often the phone gets a bad reputation (e.g. using it to ‘get on the same page’), but if used for good news, a phone call is a great way to build a better relationship with your client.
Always summarize next steps.
No matter how quick or trivial a client meeting seems, always recap the conversation with next steps. Many contractors skip this basic step. You think you’ll remember all of the details, and maybe you will, but your client may not. Aligning on the same page with next steps prevents a lot of confusion down the road.