Business business building activity is something that many small business owners struggle with. I often get told that they are too busy doing the work and don’t have time to focus on dedicated business building activity.
What if I told you that there is a really simple, painless, cost-effective way to ensure that your business continues to grow without spending enormous amounts of time, energy and money hunting “new” business?
Look after the clients you’ve got.
The most successful businesses are not the ones who spend the most on Facebook ads, or have the most perfectly written sales page or the prettiest headshots. This is all expensive window dressing.
Our business success lies in the relationships we have with our existing clients.
When you do business with someone you begin a relationship. You do good by them and they are going to keep coming back for more. They are going to become your raving fans, telling everyone they know how fabulous you are and how you have changed their lives for the better and then one day those people may become your customers too.
Like all relationships, they require nurturing and maintenance. We want our clients to feel loved and important to ensure healthy, long term relationships with our clients – not a brief fling.
Something that I get asked SO often is how do I nurture my clients and stay top of mind without annoying them?
Start by making it a regular business practice – make time to do it, just like your invoicing, writing content, any other “regular” jobs in your business. I’ve talked before about Follow Up Friday. This is a process I do every Friday morning – dedicated time in my business to connect with existing and potential clients.
Once you’ve got the practice scheduled in, there are lots of small, impactful ways you demonstrate love and attention to your clients. You don’t have to smother them. You do need to be genuine in your approach – this is not about doing the hard sell.
Here are some of the things I use:
- Say Thank You – it sounds so obvious but this is not done nearly enough which will make it so memorable when you do it. Make it part of your onboarding process…. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. Email, handwritten cards or meaningful gifts to show your appreciation go a long way.
- Support their service – if you clients are selling tickets to an event – buy one, if they are speaking at a conference – go along, if they have written a book – buy it, if they host a podcast – subscribe and review it to help lift their ranking.
- Share their work – can you promote their products? if they have published an article, white paper or blog post, read it and share it among your network.
- Follow and Engage on Social Media – are you following your client’s business pages? Liking, commenting and sharing not only shows your interest, it also gives you an insight into what is going on with them, which in turn will help you with the following…
- Congratulate them – if you hear some good news – congratulate them! LinkedIn makes this super easy as it tells us when people get promoted or start a new job. When people work so hard on something, that recognition does mean something to them – even if people say it doesn’t…. It really does.
- Be a connector – remember you are being a helper, serving not selling. Is there someone they need to know who would make their lives easier or could make them look good? Finding good help is hard so put your clients in touch with service providers like graphic designers, copywriters, photographers.
- Offer support in a non-work related manner – are they having a baby? Send them something that helped you out enormously as a new parent. Have they entered a charity run? Sponsor them. Going on holidays somewhere you have been before? Send them links to your favourite restaurants. I have shared everything from the teenage babysitter’s phone number to hotel recommendations with my clients.
Shift your mindset. Focus on service – not sales. You are helping people – all the time, not just when you have something to promote. There is nothing worse than not hearing from someone and then all of a sudden they pop into your inbox trying to sell something to you – “sign up for my course”, “buy my book”, “come to my event”.
Remember, you are building relationships here. Think of all the service providers across any industry – why do we buy from one person and not the other? Because we know, like and trust that person. They have made us feel like they genuinely care about us. So show this care to your clients.
Let me know which of these strategies you are going to implement in your business?