For professionals who work and thrive in industries that have long sales cycles, creating long-lasting client relationships is critical for sustainable (and repeat!) business. But with an ever-growing to-do list and a full calendar, how do you make time to build those lasting relationships?
Strengthening the relationships you have with your clients will make for a very smart investment as well. Did you know that it costs you anywhere from five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer versus retaining an existing one? And as an added bonus, when your happy (retained) customers praise you, the referral business they give you is practically free. This is why marketing to your existing customers is much more lucrative than marketing to unknown audiences.
Here are a few tips for truly connecting with your clients to get them coming back for more.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Your clients need to know what’s going on. Whether you’re a real estate agent and the property your client wants has multiple offers or you’re a loan officer and a mortgage looks like it might not go through, tell your clients as much as you can as regularly as you can. Update them so they know what’s going on, what their options are and so they don’t have to constantly track you down to understand what’s happening.
2. Tell the Truth
Sometimes you will hit snags. Clients won’t always get what they want. Financing falls through. Credit scores aren’t high enough. Another person has put a bid on their dream home. Life happens, and you need to be upfront about any challenges or snags you hit along the road. Once trust is broken with your client, it’s very difficult and time-consuming to earn it back.
Understand your clients. Show empathy towards their needs. Know what they want and try to help them get it. Take notes and make sure you have a system to keep track of them so that when your client comes back in five years, you remember who they are. Needs evolve, of course, but not starting from zero is a big help.
4. Make Their Lives Better
Fundamentally, if you add value to people’s lives, they will remember you and recommend you to their friends and family. You are obviously providing a service, but also giving them information that is helpful to them (not only to your business) will help them remember you as a trusted, valuable resource. An easy way to do this is to send a regular email newsletter that helps, not sells, to them.
5. Respect Their Time
Respond to requests and inquiries in a timely manner. Don’t bombard them with sales messages or other communications that benefit only you, not them. And do I have to say it? Stay off the phone. Make the person you’re with feel important. Don’t text or take other calls when you’re with your client unless they are absolutely urgent.
6. Reward Your Loyal Customers
Once your customers become repeat clients or have referred friends and family, make sure to thank them. Whether it’s a special offer, useful information or even a handwritten note, make sure you’re thanking people, too, and not only contacting them when you’re trying to sell something.
Developing relationships is critical for getting repeat and referral business. Make it easy for your previous clients to recommend you by staying in regular (but not annoying!) contact. Make sure you’re sending a variety of messages, not just sales pitches. You know those annoying friends in your life who always take and never give? Don’t be the business equivalent of that person. Make sure you’re providing value to your clients, and they will reward you with long-term loyalty. Want some help with all of this? You know where to find us!
Updated: 11/16/17; Originally Published: 8/12/14