The one topic I’ve been asked the most questions about recently, is about how often you should contact your customers and clients.
So how often do YOU contact YOUR clients?
I’d be willing to bet that it’s nowhere near enough!
It’s my experience that there is far too much time focused on regular contact with PROSPECTIVE customers and clients, and not nearly enough time and money spent on cultivating relationships with EXISTING customers and clients.
You may think a little differently once you take the following two facts into consideration:
FACT 1 – The majority of you profits will come from the ongoing relationship you have with your EXISTING clients.
FACT 2 – 68% of people change supplier because they PERCEIVE their existing supplier doesn’t care about them, once the initial sale has been made.
Building a solid and profitable relationship with your clients is not only important, but it is key to the long-term success of a business.
When you realise that it costs between 6 and 8 times MORE to attract a new client than it does to sell more to an existing client then I would have thought people would understand you need to develop better relationships with your existing ones…
… yet very few businesses seem to do it!
It seems to boil down to one thing… they don’t TRULY understand what a client means to their business.
And that may be in part because the focus of marketing has traditionally been in Lead Generation…
“I’ve got to get more clients… I’ve got to get more clients…”
Ok, like it or not, losing customers is a natural part of any business – you’d be hard pushed to please ALL of your customers and clients all of the time and besides, people’s circumstances change.
Generating new leads for your business pipeline is still very important, but why do you think large companies like Tesco, Virgin and Boots spend so much time (and money) developing loyalty programmes?
Because they KNOW that the true value of a customer isn’t in each individual sale. They know the real value is in how long they can keep that customer spending with THEM rather than their competitors.
And this process is just as valid to a smaller business – possibly even more so as they don’t generally have Brand recognition to help them.
It takes a lot of time, money and effort to get new customers on board, so you should be doing everything in your power to keep them with you – after all, why should your competitors benefit from all of your hard work?
Once you have got a customer on board, you need to ringfence them – treat them like Royalty – and it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think.
It starts with regular communication.
So then the question which needs to be answered is “How often?”
Frequency will differ from business to business, and the only way to know for sure is to test it, but as a rule of thumb I get my clients to focus on a minimum of once every six weeks.
But there are 2 key points to remember:
- Make sure that every contact you have with them contains something of value.
- You want to educate them, not just try and sell to them at every opportunity.
You need to start building a relationship with your clients and customers. You want to offer them things which will make their business better, or make working with you easier than any of your competitors.
One of the simplest things you can do to start with is to create a file of useful articles which may be of interest to them – things which relate to their industry and may affect them. Look for things happening in the news which may be relevant to them doing better.
What other information can you send to them which may put you in a better light compared to your competitors? You could create a newsletter which you can send them regularly.
All these things focus on a customer-centered business, NOT a company-centered business. Think WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) from your client’s perspective.
And another thing – don’t limit your imagination. Use all forms of media to make contact, both online and offline. Try sending them something they aren’t expecting through the post!
If you don’t cultivate the relationships you have, it’s like a farmer spending all of his time ploughing, preparing and planting, but ignoring the fully grown and ripe wheat when it’s ready for harvesting – all of the expense and hardwork without any of the benefits.
Start thinking about ways you can start communicating with your clients on a regular basis and put them into practice – you’ll be amazed at how quickly it will pay dividends.
If you would like to share any of your personal experiences, observations or the results you’ve achieved using these or similar tips, please leave your comments and/or thoughts below. I always love to hear from you.