Finding new clients is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses of any size. Much time and energy- not to mention cold, hard cash- is invested in crafting brand messages, targeting audiences, and convincing them to make contact. With so much on the line, it’s extremely important to seize every opportunity to transform a new client from a one-hit-wonder to a loyal, hopefully lifelong customer. Following these five, easy tips will make it easy to keep your sales pipeline full, with plenty of repeat business.
1) Create A Connection- Not Just A Contract
Buying decisions are half emotional and half rational. Human beings naturally prefer to do business with others with whom they have a strong connection. Everything you can do to reassure your clients that you see them as real people, and that you are advocating for their personal success, will help you to cement your business relationships. When you begin to think of every interaction with clients as an opportunity to cultivate a long term business relationship, your business will prosper more than ever before.
2) Be As Good As Your Word
People are willing to pay more and go out of their way to do business with someone they trust. That trust is about more than whether or not you’re a nice person. Trust in business requires that we demonstrate integrity at all times. If we say we’ll call or deliver something, following through is crucial.
3) Follow Through And Follow Up
Just as one might check in with a friend from time to time, it’s a good idea to reach out to clients. Every exchange offers a chance to strengthen your business bonds, or to learn how to improve. When a service has been completed, or a sale has been made, call to check on how the client likes it. If they were already satisfied, they will be even more impressed that you cared enough to inquire. If they were even mildly dissatisfied, you have a golden opportunity to rectify the situation, and knock their socks off with your professionalism. Believe it or not, demonstrating professional, caring problem solving abilities in the face of client dissatisfaction can be one of the most powerful ways of sealing a positive business relationship.
4) Reward Loyalty With More Than A “Thank You”
While most businesses focus on perks for first-time visitors, loyalty is more likely to be inspired among people who are doing business with you for the second, third, or fiftieth time. Create a loyalty program or referral program, and be sure to let people know about it the first time they do business with you. This is a powerful incentive for them to come back, and to advertise your merits to their friends.
5) Have An Attitude Of Gratitude
Everybody loves to feel appreciated, and clients are no exception. Remember that when a client visits you for the first time, they are taking a risk- investing their faith and money in you. Be sure to thank them for this. If you wish to make a strong impression, do so in a manner that’s more meaningful than a short email. Clients are tremendously impressed by a hand-written note. Have some personal labels created to make the job easier, and then begin sending out notes of gratitude, or even updates on business, or topics your clients find relevant. Doing so shows you care about more than a single transaction. It demonstrates that you are tuned in to their big picture, and are in it with them for the long haul.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Betsy Weber