Never Let Go!
Staying in touch with your clients in 2021
There is far too much competition today, and it is not enough to have a great product or service. You need to add value to your clients. You need the experience with you to be honest, and sincere. Take a look at how you are doing business and decide how you may add value to become invaluable.
The reason is simple: You want to turn transactions into ongoing relationships.
But that’s not easy, especially when all you can think to do is send a “Thinking of you–hope you’re doing well!” email that sounds like you’re just fishing for business.
Want to stay in touch with customers without seeming obvious or gratuitous? It’s easy. The key is to keep in touch in a meaningful and memorable way.
Pick a tool and set up an alert on the person’s name, company name, industry, maybe topics of personal interest … and then you can reconnect with something to offer: congratulations, information about new competitors, trends in the industry, etc.
The key is to turn a generic “Thinking of you” into a much more meaningful, “I immediately thought of you when I saw this.”
Many people feel uncomfortable asking others to complete LinkedIn Recommendations. Instead of waiting for a customer to ask, jump in and write one. You will not only strengthen a connection but also get the chance to (subtly) describe your business and services when you discuss how you and your customer did business in the past.
Or go further. Be a matchmaker and recommend a customer’s services to another customer. If you pick the right people, both will be grateful for the introduction.
Never forget: People tend to like, and remember, the people who want them.
Content marketing–or as Dharmesh et al. call it, inbound marketing–is a great tool. But content marketing requires content.
So kill two birds with one stone. Profile a customer. Better yet, ask customers to share tips, advice, and strategies. You get content, you both get a content marketing boost, and they feel good that you respect them enough to feature them on your blog, video … whatever media you use for marketing your business.
(But don’t ask a customer if you can do the same; that’s like inviting yourself to a party. Always wait to be invited.)
Building customer relationships isn’t generous; you eventually want something (like more sales). But when you’re staying in touch, forget about what you want and focus on what you can provide.
The list of things you can give–tangible and intangible–is endless if you’re creative.
Giving is the only way to establish a real connection and relationship. Focus solely on what you can get out of it, and you will never build a long-term relationship.
While a “How can we improve our products or services?” inquiry is okay, go a step further and ask customers to share their knowledge or expertise. For example, ask if they’ll be beta testers. Ask if they will try a product or service for free in exchange for recommendations for improvement.
Or call and say, “We’re trying to do a better job at (something specific you do). Can I take you to lunch and get your advice?”
Keep in mind this only works if you already have a relationship. Try this with new customers, and they’ll assume–justifiably–that you’re just trying to sell them more stuff.
When creating your database, throw in a little ‘intelligence’ about each person, i.e. listing what they like and something about their own life. For example, Client A is married, has two children called Bertie and Matilda, and on Sundays, she goes running in the Peak District wearing nothing but a banana suit. It means that whenever you contact a client in future, you can ask about their families or outdoor pursuits to add a personal touch.
If you’ve not spoken to a client for some time and you get that gut feeling they might be thinking about you, pick up the phone and call them. Do it before you even get that gut feeling. Because if you sense that a client is wondering where the hell you are, you’ve probably left it too late.
Another great way to stay in touch without going overboard is to leave intelligent comments on your client’s blog or own articles. Again, make sure you use correct spelling and punctuation and say something exciting. It will capture your client’s attention and impress them.
Do you know that weekly #FF on Twitter where you recommend people to follow? For example, give a friendly recommendation to your clients, so they know you’re thinking of them. Or perhaps re-tweet their content on your feed. They’ll appreciate the support, and you’ll stay well and truly on their radar.
Most businesses have a Facebook Page these days, so make sure you ‘like’ your clients and regularly stay in touch by responding to their updates. It will keep you in the loop.
To continue strengthening your relationships, find your clients on LinkedIn and connect with them. Once connected, make sure you regularly update your profile so clients can see what you’re doing. For example, add positive posts about your business and the recent successful projects you’ve completed.
Whenever a customer hires you, gives you a referral or does something to help you overall, don’t forget to thank them and show your sincere appreciation for their generosity or custom. Your loyalty is just as essential, and acknowledging their business is the best way to keep a client relationship secure. A simple thank you card should do the trick.
Many businesses have found different ways of maintaining contact with their valued customers during the pandemic. Digital communication has been a lifeline to some companies. In the absence of face-to-face interaction, one business owner has utilized digital communication to her advantage. She used Facebook to update her existing clients before COVID-19 but has doubled her efforts with more time and no traffic into her shop. She is using Instagram stories to keep her business alive and is a tool that has been used by many during this turbulent time.
For those businesses lucky enough to stay open during the pandemic, communicating information on how they plan to keep their premises, shops or offices Covid free has been crucial for customers to feel safe. Customers like to feel valued, and many will feel vulnerable and uncertain; reassuring them will go a long way to help them feel able to venture out again.
Another reason to keep interacting with your existing client base is the vital feedback they can provide. Many customers will be happy to tell you why they choose you over another business owner. They will also tell you what you could do better, what product they would like to introduce, or what service they could improve. When you talk to several clients, you can identify any patterns that will help you make adjustments to your provision.
The key to good business is flexibility and the ability to change things that aren’t working and introduce new items according to business demand. For example, if you own a restaurant, spending some time chatting to visitors allows you to ask if there is anything they would like to see on the menu. If you ask enough people and demand, you should explore and consider adding it to the menu; this will add value to what you provide and encourage existing customers to return. Many small businesses gain success through ‘word of mouth,’ so maintaining loyal customers is crucial for acquiring new ones.
If you sell a product or a service, engaging with customers allows you to find out how successful it is. You can also get vital information about any competitors as they may share information on any similar product or service they have used. Whether positive or negative, this information allows you to make adjustments to keep or obtain customers.
There are many reasons to stay in contact with our customer base. However, now more than ever, it is critical that you gently guide people back and focus on providing what they need to recover your business and move forward in this time of uncertainty.
Don’t be afraid of asking for help, be open and transparent! Tell your customers the way it is and do not hold back. Be friendly, firm and positive. Even bad news can be received as positive news when appropriately presented.
Article compiled by hughesagency.ca