Seven Tips to Wow Your Current Clients

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of sailing into the Yokohama harbor at daybreak. The British cruise ship I was on was greeted with much fanfare by the harbor police boat, two fire boats that sprayed six water jet streams each a hundred feet into the air, and the Japanese people who waved furiously from the bridge and the docks as we sailed into the port. We were further indulged dockside by lovely ladies in kimonos, Koto harp players, Japanese drummers, and a full band.

I chose to spend the day at Tokyo Disneyland with a brand new friend that I met on the ship. We went on one or two rides, and then went to a hamburger stand for a snack. I spent a great deal of time trying to sign language my way through a request for French fries to get the Japanese waiter to understand me. He patiently waited until I was done and then asked “Small or large?” in pretty good English. (Hmmm, why do I make everything harder than it needs to be?)

Even if the Japanese alphabet was different from ours, often the numbers were written out in English so that you could see what the price or time was. English numbers were imprinted on the yen coins also. This made trading money a snap.

As we sailed out to sea that night, I had a fond memory of the day, and a lasting positive impression of the people of Japan.

With the economy still questionable and new business very competitive, we can learn a few things from my trip to Japan.

  1. Greet a current client with much fanfare, even if they’ve been with you for years. Make them feel special all over again.
  2. Speak your client’s language (don’t make them try to speak yours). If you are an accountant or attorney, you may be especially guilty of this! Get to know your client’s business or industry and learn their buzz words. It doesn’t take too many buzz words for you to sound like an insider.
  3. Periodically do something very special for your current clients. If you know your client has an anniversary coming up, send them a gift certificate to a Japanese steakhouse.
  4. Protect your clients. Be the harbor police and escort them safely into harbor. Be proactive about helping your client avoid disasters, whatever that means for your line of work. If you’re an accountant and you see their profit margin dropped 10 percent from one year to the next, don’t assume your client knows or understands this even though you do. Ask them if they’d like to explore this issue further.
  5. Put out fires. Be helpful by helping your clients put out those little annoying daily fires. Ask them how you can help in this way. You might be able to show them how to systematize, delegate or automate a task that frees up their time.
  6. Keep your client informed of ongoing costs. Make it easy for your client to read the English figures on your Yen coins. For clients who I know are tight on budget, I provide estimates of work even though they may have been working for me for a decade. They appreciate being able to plan their cash flow and knowing what to expect. (No one likes uncertainty.)
  7. Create a lasting positive impression for your clients. In all interactions with your clients, be sure you and your employees are creating lasting, and especially positive impressions of your firm. This will boost referrals and increase repeat business, which are two things that are really nice to have!