7 Tips to Keep the Clients You Have

It’s far less expensive to keep your existing clients happy than it is to find new clients, especially since the trust factor between people is at an all-time low. So you might want to think about re-directing a portion of your marketing attention on your existing client base instead of networking for new clients.

I’ve met a lot of business owners recently who have trouble getting their employees to sell while they’re on site, and I’ve also heard from some customers who’ve remarked that their vendors don’t stay in touch with them. So here are some tips to mine the pot of gold that lies right before you: your current clients who already trust you and are eager to hear about new solutions that will ease their pain and problems.

  1. Change your attitude about staying in touch with your client. You might feel like you don’t want to “bother” your client, but I bet your client would be delighted to get a phone call out of the blue, especially if you have an idea that will save them time or money. They already trust you, so find out how you can help them even more than you already are.
  2. Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing and offer your existing clients a coupon, gift certificate, or discount off their services instead of offering new clients a great deal. I get so mad as a current client of AT&T and never understand why they want to give new people a good deal when they should be giving me a deal for staying with them for 10 years.
  3. Give your team checklists and scripts to follow. When they are wrapping up the service, have your team member get used to selling by starting them with questions such as “is there anything else we can do so that you are thrilled with our service?” Then move them into reviewing a checklist for each client. For example, if they are a carpet cleaner, they could notice if the client needed their windows washed too and could say, “Now that it’s summer can we help you tackle those windows for you and get that off your spring cleaning list?” The checklist will be items your team member can easily look for on the client’s site.
  4. Take your top revenue-generating clients to lunch on a regular basis. Compliment them and say genuinely “I’d love to have 3 more clients just like you.” Usually your client will think of some referrals they can help you with, and if not, you can less subtly ask. “Do you know of anyone who is looking for the type of services we offer?” Your best clients can be your best source of referrals. Also, as you get to talking with them, listen for problems you can solve. There may be more business for you. Just about every time I called or emailed a client, they would think of more work for me. When you’re top of mind, you’ll get more work.
  5. Partner with your clients when possible. Send them referrals, introduce them at your country club, do events with them, go to conferences with them, or participate on boards with them. The more you get to know your clients, the more possibilities open up for you to help each other.
  6. Have multiple contacts that you get to know at each client company. The larger the company, the more contacts you need. If one of your contacts gets laid off, then you won’t be scrambling trying to get a return call.
  7. Gift your top clients periodically with free reports, new findings, whitepapers, audio recordings, or ebooks that are useful for their business.

The good news is that most of this can be done systematically and by trained staff, so it doesn’t have to take up much time or budget to implement. Don’t be that vendor who didn’t make the phone call and lost the account. No one can afford to lose good clients these days, especially the ones who pay on time!

Although it’s exciting to get new clients, none of us would be where we are today without the clients we’ve had for years and years. Rather than take them for granted, take the opportunity to expand the relationship in new directions, and watch your business grow.