Did you know your biggest source for referrals and new clients are the clients you already have?
Yes, it’s true! Your current clients are a virtual garden of opportunities for new business. As my friend, social media expert and author of KaChing and Twitter Power, Joel Comm says, “Know Me, Like Me, Trust Me, Pay Me.” Well your clients certainly do this. Now it’s time to cultivate your garden of current client relationships to increase the likelihood of sprouting additional business.
How? Well one way is to invest time in showing your clients you care and cultivating an ongoing relationship. Part of what we teach in Cultivating Connections that Count is developing a system and “stay-in-touch” plan that enables you to easily nurture relationships. Consistency is certainly key.
Following are just a few ways you can build your relationships, have an impact and receive (or at least ask for) new referrals all by showing you care. As you consider these options, it might be helpful to have a specific client in mind.
Take Personal Interest.
Part of building and cultivating client relationships is taking the time to get to know them personally. If your client shares what is going on in their personal life, they are closer to becoming a friend vs just a business client. Ask about their interests, favorite past times and hobbies. What do they do on the weekend? If they have children or pets, ask about them. Each time you see or talk with them, bring the personal into the conversation by asking about what you know of them personally.
Take Professional Interest.
Take time to learn about their professional goals. Is there something your client needs right now? Is there some way you can help them closer to their goal? It could be something as simple as sharing an article of interest, referring them to a suitable resource, giving them a business referral, letting them know about a professional organization, networking organization, event or seminar.
Add Personal Touch.
A handwritten note or thank you card goes a long way. It communicates to your client that they are worth your time. Mail cards frequently and consistently. Whether an automated postcard service, Send Out Cards or a handwritten card, mailing something personalized adds that extra touch and shows you care.
Show Your Face.
As much as email, Skype, and the phone have their place, nothing beats the old-fashioned way of doing business… in person. Face-time with current clients is priceless. This can include something as simple walking and talking on the way to the parking lot following an event, sitting down over coffee or lunch, taking them to a ball game, or sitting next to them in a seminar. The energy of actually, real-life, face-to-face human interaction is always superior to a virtual medium.
This does not mean giving away products or services for which they are currently paying you. Perhaps your business offers something that is of little cost to you but something of value to them, such as a free report or complimentary analysis (as long as it is NOT a way, or perceived as a way, to up-sell). They might appreciate receiving a book you recently read that could help them in their business or relates to one of their favorite past-times. Many authors are open to selling their books at a discount when you buy in bulk. Think about what you can offer that would be of value to your client and give them a gift.
Your clients know your work better than anyone else and can become your biggest fans and greatest referral sources. They trust you already, know you deliver quality, and believe you are worth paying. Now you just want to be consistent and build a routine of taking time to cultivate a solid relationship beyond business.
So tell me, what ideas do you have to cultivate an ongoing relationship with your current clients? Post a comment below and let me know!
© 2013 CERTUS Professional Network / Behind The Moon, Inc. All rights reserved.
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