I was talking with a friend about his business. He was telling me about how some of his clients, who he had had for a few years, were leaving him. He was taking it hard. I asked him why they left. He said, “One because our price was too high, and the other didn’t tell me.” I asked if he believed them and he responded with, “Why not?” I was curious about what he had done for them recently, so I asked him. He said, “What do you mean? I kept the companies’ computers going daily. What more did they need from me?”
For a lot of owners and companies, this internal conversation is happening. It’s human nature to take relationships for granted. The same, good thing happens repeatedly, and we begin to expect it. It’s as if we become entitled to that relationship. That’s when we get ourselves and those relationships in trouble.
Question: when was the last time you gave something to your best clients? When was the last time you took them out to lunch and thanked them for their business? You can’t remember? You don’t know? My answer back to you is, “Why not?”
As a culture, we are “stroke deprived.” What I mean is, we don’t acknowledge each other enough for the goodness and progress we make. We don’t thank our people for the good jobs they do. We don’t thank our clients for the trust they’ve placed in us to produce for them. We don’t give back out of gratitude.
We must build real relationships with our clients. When I say real relationships, I mean having difficult conversations. When was the last time you asked a client how you could lose the business? I know. Some of you are thinking, “Are you nuts?!?!?!?” Here’s the thing: we need to know. If we are being accountable to our clients and ourselves, we need to know. This question builds credibility, accountability, vulnerability, and authenticity. You are putting yourself out there to build more trust. Trust must be earned. Making yourself vulnerable builds that trust. We are all striving to build more trust with our clients. My question to you is, “What are you doing to build that trust?”
How do I keep my clients longer?
First, track your activity.
How are you doing it now? Do you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to follow the activity? What mechanisms are you using to see how you are servicing the clients? You need to track this to keep up with your accounts.
Second, Give back.
How many calls have you made to your good clients, only to say “hello” and not have an alternate agenda? When was the last time you gave a client an introduction to someone who they could do business with?
These seem so simple and they are. It’s common sense, however, it’s not always common sense. Start today! Set up a lunch for a client. Deliver lunch to their team. Call your best clients and tell them thank you for their business. Look on LinkedIn and deliver an introduction to them. If you enjoy golfing and so does your client, take them out. Send them a $5 Starbucks card to get a cup of coffee to start out their day. It doesn’t even need to be an investment of dollars. Write them a handwritten thank you note, telling them how much you appreciate their business.
Start striving to be a trusted advisor. Start thinking bigger than yourself. The key to long-term relationships is being authentic. Be real with your clients. You’ll be surprised at what you get in return.
Need help finding the best ways to retain your clients? Click here to contact us and let us help you reach a 30% growth in business this year just by making your current clients happy.