Maximising your relationships (Part 1)
Research shows that in service-based businesses, approximately 25% of new business should come from a company’s existing clients. Most businesses, however, forget about marketing to their existing clients and instead tend to chase after new clients. The same research shows that a further 25% of new business should be the result of referrals from one’s existing clients.
I believe that if you spend more effort on marketing yourself to your existing clients, you’ll not only get more business from them, you will also increase their loyalty toward you and they’ll be more likely to recommend you to other people.
I always say that marketing is a contact sport. In fact, I recommend that you make contact with your client at least every 30 days to make sure that you stay top of mind because it’s guaranteed your competitors are talking to your client. And when I say ‘make contact’, I don’t mean a one-line email. In fact, I don’t even mean calling your client and asking if you can take him or her for coffee. In today’s busy world, people don’t have time for coffee with suppliers. You need to consistently ensure that your presence creates value for the client.
Never underestimate the value of a face-to-face meeting with your client. I advise asking yourself how many of your email interactions you could replace with a personal phone call or face-to-face meeting, which is an effective way to build a personal relationship with your clients. Be constantly on the lookout for creative ways to find out more about the client, his business, his problems and opportunities for him to reduce costs or make more money. Over and above that, ensure you are top of mind through value-added communications or activities.
For example, you might send your client a useful article you’ve found that speaks to his business, or you might send through referral business or offer to help with the company’s CSI activities. Make sure that you understand your client’s business, including its structure, who your client reports to, the challenges that face the organisation and its strategy – do what you need to do to build relationship and show your client that he matters to you. By learning more about your client and their problems, you are able to set yourself up better to show how you can assist in solving challenges with the services you offer.
It’s difficult to find new business and I firmly believe that while we should of course be pursuing new clients, we should also remember to look first to existing clients. Market yourself to them not only to sell more service, but to increase their levels of loyalty to you. In the process, you will also ensure they become active salespeople for your personal brand.