The Art of Client Retention

Knowing that I’m a business coach, whenever I tell people that I’m educated as an engineer, and that I spent 14 years in the consulting engineering profession, their reaction is often one of surprise.  Yet, the common “thread” of my experience in that field, followed by financial services, and now coaching, is that I’ve always enjoyed the collaborative process of developing a relationship with, and partnering with clients to help them achieve an end objective, or to fulfill a dream.

I had a conversation recently with a colleague about market niche.  It’s counter-intuitive, but, if you’re in a service-based industry, the more narrow, well-defined your niche, the more likely your business will prosper.  People want to do business with experts…with specialists.  Not only think of your niche by demographic factors….age, occupation, income, geographic locale….but, also by “psychographics”….their personality, values, interests, background, etc.  Think of your best clients, and why they are such.  Why do you enjoy working with them?  Try to find more just like them!

Through my 30+ years of service-based experience, here are client retention strategies and tips that have served me well:

1.  Hold client appreciation events…which have no relation to your business, or the service or product you sell (I had a professional chef as a client who provided cooking demonstrations for other clients of mine)

2.  Mail, or email helpful articles related to your clients’ business or personal interests.

3.  Conduct a client survey of recently completed services.

4.  Interact with them through social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in particular.

5.  Call or email them for no particular reason (i.e. “I was thinking of you…”)

6.  Provide qualified referrals or resources for them.  Ask, “How can I help you?  What are you in need of?”

7.  Provide a monthly ezine or newsletter that is value-oriented, and which contains little if any promotional information (such as this one)

8.  Celebrate their successes with them, or recognize their hardships (e.g. attend their retirement party, or a funeral of a loved one).

9.  Take a question-based approach to selling – ask questions on top of questions.

10.  If you provide time-sensitive services or products, surprise them by delivering them before the due date, in an unexpected manner.

Remember…

“people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

About Dean Long

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