I was giving a webinar recently and I asked a question – I asked the attendees what they thought their most valuable marketing resource was. I heard some varied answers, including ‘time’, ‘mailing lists’, and ‘human capital’. All interesting answers that I am sure arguments can be made for, however, no one got the answer I was eluding to – your current clients – or your rolodex (I know, a ‘rolodex’ is antiquated, it’s just for illustrative purposes). In a down economy, it is important to know the value of your contacts and keep them as part of your referral network. Investing in your pre-existing contacts and clients by successfully meeting your commitments, managing/exceeding expectations, and strengthening your relationships is one of the easiest ways to increase sales. Here are some reasons why:
Selling to preexisting clients is easier that selling to new ones
They know your service, how good you are, and the style in which you work. The business development begins after a matter is completed, and taking the necessary steps to build loyalty is important. How do you build loyalty you ask? Besides offering good results or products, treating your client to personalized service can go a long way. Further, you should invest the time to know the details about your clients and their situations or business. In the sales world, this is known as ‘knowing your client’. Knowing how they work and how they like to be worked with is important. Beyond that, noticing a change in your client’s behavior can help you identify issues that you can remedy; it can also help control workflow and keep the client’s business.
You understand your existing clients
Because you understand your existing client’s needs, you can set reasonable goals for their business. Being able to meet surpass goals will give your customers incentive to stay with your firm. Setting unrealistic goals is a short-term ploy to keep a customer happy. Actual performance will keep them happy.
Your business relationship could also potentially change based on factors such as: management, value, profit and need. Understand the fluidity of business and make yourself and your business part of their business model in times of feast and famine.
You already know the current and future decision makers
You know the politics, the decision makers, and factors involved. Who makes the decisions? What factors are these decisions based on? Tailor your service and interactions accordingly. Keep detailed information regarding personal information such as family, tastes, and birthdays for every person within a business you have contact with and treat them all with respect; you might be speaking to the next VP.
Valuing your clients is the best way to anticipate their needs, handle their issues, and always make yourself a necessity. By providing personalized customer service, you are investing in the customer you already have. Small accounts grow and large accounts churn off work for others; understanding the value of each customer is vital to the success of your business.
About David Wolfskehl
David Wolfskehl is business development consultant and author of The Micro-Niche Method, a resource to help professional service providers increase new matters streams and revenue by identifying and finding their niche. If you would like David to speak to your organization, please feel free to contact him today at 1 (908) 393-2722.