Clients are the lifeblood of every business and in this highly competitive market it makes good business sense to build strong partnerships with your clients. Doing excellent work and providing excellent customer care are expected and quite frankly don’t do enough to set you apart from your competitors. In order to grow and retain your clients and secure their loyalty, you have to go beyond what they have come to see as the basics or rules of engagement.
Here are suggestions on how you can better solidify your relationships and ultimately become a partner with your clients. Ask yourself if you are doing these things consistently or if you could do them better.
It’s sad but unfortunately true that many companies have little but a superficial understanding of their client’s business. It’s only by having an awareness of the specifics of their business are you able to make proactive and substantive recommendations; this is especially important when the market or business climate changes. Nothing stays constant for long; you must always question what you know about their business. Remember what was true some months or years ago can be totally different now. Stay current and be ready to make changes to the service or product that you are delivering in order to better accommodate the present environment.
Nothing says “we’re in this together” quite as much as making business introductions that can help your client. While introductions to potential clients are often considered the gold standard, introductions to referral sources and other business resources are also extremely valuable. The key is to make proactive introductions and be attuned to potential opportunities as they appear.
Getting wrapped up in the day-to-day work that you do for a client is a distinct possibility. It is only when you step back and look at their business with a broader perspective can you begin to see additional opportunities that should be explored. Do not make the mistake that many make. Do not charge for this “blue-sky” meeting; plan a comprehensive agenda that will add value and be beneficial to the client. As a value-add this blue-sky meeting can also lead to additional work for you as well.
Make the time to search for and share relevant articles, videos, and links with your clients. This small action will help demonstrate that you are proactively thinking about their business and are consistently looking to add value to the relationship. Sign up for TED (https://www.ted.com/) and other websites that have a vast diversity of exceptional videos and information that can be shared and also consider industry newsletters and other sources of business information.
It’s become too easy to rely on email for the vast majority of client communications. Mix things up a bit and pick up the phone to discuss your client’s current situation, learn some new information, validate what you already know and demonstrate that they are important to you.
Most importantly, always remember that it is far more cost effective and time efficient to retain and grow your existing clients rather than prospect to bring in new ones. Building loyal relationships that can stand the test of time and that position you as a partner in your client’s business is the way to go.
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.