How To Get and Keep Better Clients
If you have ever attended a business networking group, you will sooner or later hear someone ask “how can I get more clients or keep better clients?” It’s a bit like match-making for a prospective lover, you have an ideal list of qualities you are seeking and the deal-breakers that you won’t accept. In business, it is very much the same. Clients are much more sophisticated and have much less time to consider options but are often bombarded with options. Today it is a fundamental requirement to invest the time to fully understand and quantify who is your ideal client and how can we present ourselves as their ideal provider? Understanding your USP with give you a clearer vision.
Just last week I was faced with this question. You may have a handful of clients you consider B-Grade – you know, those ones that are always complaining so they get a discount, that take forever to pay their account, always squeezing out that little favour from you, the micro-managers or the ones that constantly missing deadlines through no fault of your own. Yes, those ones are your
B-Grade clients. Life would be sweeter without them. After 5 years of jumping through hoops to try and please a client, attending weekend meetings if the client demanded and still being unappreciated, I finally had to cut the chains. Not a decision I took lightly, but why would I allow someone else to hold me back? After all, 2016 is going to be the year of building better relationships with my A-Grade clients; now I am free to thrive for that goal.
So how can we get and keep better clients? Firstly, take your needs and wants out of the picture (yes, sure we all want more sales but there is more to building business that just that). Put your focus on the client and solve their problems, fulfil their needs and wants and the rest will follow. The reason customers want to spend money is to fix a problem or avoid a pending problem, or acquire something desirable (that’s a little female trait). With over 7 billion people in the world, they are not all going to be your customer. But by identifying who are your better clients, the ones who are the biggest beneficiaries of your product/services, then you are closer to being able to attract them. Next you need to build an attraction model based on building trust before any financial transaction, combined with the best client support service. Give them a dammed good reason to be your customer.
Now you have to learn to keep that customer. It is often accepted that 82 per cent of clients go elsewhere simply because they do not feel valued or loved. To keep your better clients, you need to start with a review of every component of your business that a prospect or client can come into contact with and question the level of quality experienced at this step of the relationship. The most important aspect is usually the consistency and speed of any response above price and other issues. Make it attractive to come back again and again.
Clients are individuals or business that make repeat purchases from the same provider because that provider continues to offer the best solution. Successful businesses have clients, not customers. Customers shop anywhere at anytime, without loyalty, usually based on price. Supermarkets are a great example of this.
Summary – you can’t please all the people all the time but you can splash a customer with love and convert them into a client forever. Acquiring customers is nice. Keeping customers define how you stay in business. For business owners, the ideal state is to create a customer base that creates new customers by referring your great services (and sharing the love). Not only will loyal customers keep coming back themselves, they’ll also become a linchpin of your marketing efforts.