Client Relationships: How to Keep Clients Longer and Generate More Referrals

 

You just made the sale, now what do you do? Build quality client relationships!

Sales training provides you with the necessary steps to landing the sale. Congratulations! You followed those steps to a tee and you closed the deal, but now what?

Post-Sale Client Relationships

Maintaining client relationships post-sale is arguably as important if not even more important than landing the sale itself.

Think of sales as if it were fishing. At this stage, you’ve got the fish on the hook, but the fish is flopping and could come loose at any moment. Just like the fish, you’ve landed your client, but there’s no guarantee that they won’t choose to leave and go elsewhere.

Shouldn’t I Focus More On New Client Relationships Than My Existing Ones?

The customer experience as a whole is what ultimately leads customers to refer business your way. Click To Tweet

Those referrals remain more important than any other type of lead generation.

According to a recent 2016 Nielsen study, “82% of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase.”

According to Nielsen “Referrals don’t just help us make decisions. Often times, they’re the primary driver of them.”

Now, I want you to really think about that statistic for a minute and ask yourself again, if you think you should truly focus your attention away from your current clients in order to make new clients your top priority.

Are You Really Still Thinking About This?

Just in case that staggering Nielsen statistic wasn’t convincing enough, according to Salesforce, gaining new customers is six to seven times more expensive than maintaining current ones you already have.

For those of you who struggle with math, if it costs you $1000 to maintain a customer, that means it will ultimately cost you between six and seven thousand dollars to gain a new one.

Get the picture?

Ok, I Understand That Keeping My Current Clients Is Important, So What Should My Post-Sale Client Relationship Look Like?

Customers want to feel special. Click To Tweet

Creating a personalized experience for your customers is of the utmost importance.

No one wants to feel like just another number. Each customer wants to feel like their business is not only wanted, but actually needed.

So what should your post-sale client relationship look like? It should be customer driven through customization and proactive communication.

How So?

As an example, let’s talk about client gifts.

How often do you send them? Around the holidays? Quarterly? Monthly? Special occasions only? Do you send them at all?

Chances are, client gifts are not on the top of your priority list, but they should be pretty high up there.

Putting forth that little bit of extra effort can help you close that last sale of the month and showing your clients that you are thinking of them post-sale is equally as important.

Giving them a gift they’ll actually enjoy is even more important (seriously stop sending branded coffee mugs and mouse pads, no one and I mean literally no one wants these things. Side note – does anyone even use a real mouse anymore??).

Gifting Should Be Part of Sales

When running through your sales cycle, it is unlikely that you take into account the act of gifting.

However, “Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) has conducted surveys of corporate gift givers and recipients.

They have shown that vendors who gave were twice as likely to increase their chances of being contacted by recipients as those that didn’t have a gift program.”

This is something you should keep in mind not only for potential new clients, but existing ones as well.

What Type Of Gifts Should I Consider?

There are an outrageous number of gift vending options and endless unique ideas as to how you can customize them with your branding but the key to solid client gifting is to always ask yourself, “would I be happy receiving this?”

Try to always find gift options that are useful, thoughtful and relevant for your clients.

Keep top of mind with clients by providing them with something practical, whether it be just to say hello, or as a snack during a client meeting.

The goal should be to stand out for the nice gesture, not for the obscure one.

When Should I Send Client Gifts?

This is a difficult question. Many factors go into the response for this.

What can be recommended is that if you feel it’s been a while since you’ve touched base with your clientele, it’s time to send out some “thinking of you – hope business is well” gifts.

Budget permitting, sending gifts to clients would ideally be done at least on a quarterly basis, but if budget restraints present themselves, the very minimum is to send something around the holidays.

Keep in mind holiday gifts are extremely popular so choose either right before holiday season begins or right after New Years to stand out from the crowd.

An Example Of A Great Client Gifting Option

Shameless plug, but you could use WorkPerks to create customized snack boxes for client gifts or even client meetings.

The snacks included are all individually wrapped, so they are easily sharable within an office setting.

Let’s Take A Moment And Laugh

WorkPerks created this video which shows several client gifts that simply aren’t winners. As mentioned, client gifts are important for maintaining healthy, positive client relationships. Don’t make the mistakes in this video.

Be smart, gift smarter.

Let’s Refocus

Hopefully, that video gave you a good laugh.

In reality though, think about all of the ridiculous things that vendors and business partners have done for you in the past.

Some of those ridiculous things may have left a lasting impression, but certainly not in the way we are trying to accomplish.

Remember, the goal here is to let the client know they are on your mind and not forgotten post-sale.

How Can I Make My Customers Feel Valued?

Beyond the realm of client gifting, there are infinite ways to add value to your client relationships, but communication is key.

Check in regularly with your clients.

Find out what is and what isn’t working for your clients and then adjust accordingly. Click To Tweet

Keep them in the loop with exciting company updates and trends – keeping your name and company logo regularly in front of them, will help to keep you top of mind with clients.

Provide Out Of The Box Value

Not only should you make your customers feel valued, you should also find unique ways to think outside of the box and provide unexpected value to your customers.

You can provide added value by being an “expert” in your space by offering tools, insight and tips that are complementary to the product or service you are providing for your clients.

For example, if you are in the marketing technology space, and you come across a great tool that helps track social media presence and reach, share it with your clients as a nice way to say “I’m thinking about your company’s success.”

Become Your Client’s “Person”

You’ve proven that your product provides value to your client and you’ve shown them that you’re willing to go above and beyond to help their business succeed by offering insight to other tools that they might find useful.

You’re building a relationship with your client that goes beyond selling them a product or service they need, you’re proving to them that you are a champion of their business as much as you are a champion of selling them yours.

What Exactly Is All Of This Accomplishing?

You’ve maintained a consistent relationship with your client over time. They trust you, and they appreciate your dedication to keeping them a happy client.

When their contract expires shortly or when they decide to “restructure their budget,” instead of shopping around for new, potentially better or more budget-friendly options, you have created not only brand loyalty, but personal loyalty as well that will supersede any desire to find out if the grass truly is greener on the other side – you’ve established that the grass is the perfect shade of green right here.