By Joe Z Mairura
Are you a Consultant, Coach, Therapist, Trainer or some other similar Independent professional business owner?
Then clients are to your business what carbon is to steel
Without clients/customers you can be the best in the world at what you do; but it doesn’t amount to much.
If you don’t have a supply of clients, you don’t have a business; but an expensive hobby.
You are no more than a subject matter expert that no one has ever heard of.
If you want a successful and sustainable business you need a regular flow of clients.
Yes and No!
There is nothing wrong attracting a constant flow of clients into your business. Even smarter, is focusing on continually courting, nurturing and ultimately holding on to your clients for the long term.
That’s where stuff happens. Because…
They’ve heard of you…
They’ve already bought from you…
They already know you…
And they’ve some form of relationship with you…
So the smart thing to do is to nurture that relationship so they return to buy from you again and again.
Doing this will ensure you have more successful relationships and business with your clients.
And so to the inevitable and obvious question; “how do you retain your clients for the long term?”
First, offer you clients Value and Excellent Service – to your existing clients ongoing and extraordinary value by serving them to the highest level. Far too many Consultants, Coaches, Therapists, Trainers etc… just concentrate on attracting new clients, and once they have acquired them, they are off again spending even more time trying to acquire even more new clients and not allocating enough time to really serve and add even more value to the clients they have recently acquired and ensuring they are still serving their existing ones – continuing to offer the highest level of service and results.
The danger with this approach is just focusing on the one- off sale and not nurturing the long term relationship and the potential for more repeat sales.
All clients are selfish and only interested in what you can do for then, how you can solve and continue to solve their problem and alleviate their pain points. This is good; and is why you are in business; to serve your clients and customers.
But do not confuse this with subscribing to the erroneous and “business-limiting” mentality of “the customer is always right” approach.
No; the customer is not always right.
I know that sounds completely bonkers, contrary to the accepted way of conducting business… may be…
I know; it sounds like…“business heresy”; like way out counter-intuitive.
But that’s for another time.
For now grok this, clients quickly grasp that over time, it’s advantageous for them to have someone like you on their side. Constantly engaging informing and nurturing. Their “go to” guy or gal
Doing this one thing of serving your clients to the highest levels and adding even more value to them; pays dividends and will actually do wonders for your business.
It helps you to retain your clients longer. If you’re serving your clients at a higher level, and you’re focused on providing even more value producing results for them, they’re going to want to stay with you.
Because, you’re providing your clients or customers with more value and more results.
If they stay with you longer, they are going to come back to you: for more projects, more services; to refer you to other people and clients, because they’re so ecstatic and satisfied with what you’ve provided and continue to provide to them
That’s great for your business.
Second, keep your clients informed- focus on is keeping your clients informed with the latest industry or market information’ or professional trends.
Always looking out for them, whenever you’re: exhibitions, reading checking out different blogs, researching trade publications – whatever – always have your client in mind and take every opportunity to add even more value to them.
Doing this fosters client loyalty and trust.
Your clients really value someone they can turn to, an adviser, someone they can trust. Whether that be as: coach, consultant, trainer or a mentor.
Being that person; and being “the go-to person”, regularly front of mind, most clients value and like having someone like that (You) their side.
The third- build and sustain relationships- this is powerful continually working on building and maintaining relationships with your clients. Not just within the business context; but also think creatively about what you can do to sustain relationships with your clients “appropriately”, outside the business context.
For instance getting to know your clients as individuals. What are they really like as people? What makes them tick? Their families, children, hobbies, interests. Simply recognising your client as a person, learning more about them as a person and sharing also more about yourself, can really cement that relationship etc.
The occasional out for a coffee, or lunch, or whatever it is, getting someone outside of the typical business environment can do wonders for business relationships. Not enough people do it.
It’s all in the relationship.
In the avoidance of any misunderstanding, let me be absolutely clear; I’m not promoting “inappropriate” relationships, in order to influence the client in favour of your custom, or some sort of business sweetener to get the business. No; I’m talking about transparent and ethical relationship building; based on integrity and mutual trust.
Be the person that will take the time to establish strong relationships with your clients. This is not about spending every single day or allocating certain days or weekend for them; nor is it about share your most personal secrets.
This is about simply recognising your client as a person, a fellow human being, learning more about them as a person and sharing also more about you as a person, can really strengthen that relationship.
If you are a consultant, coach or trainer and you want to know “how you might start to do this, go here for more information
With my warmest wishes
P.S Ultimately, we are in the relationship business. The stronger your relationship with your clients, the stronger the business bond and the more the basis for longevity
Focus on the three things above in your business, and you’ll be able to retain more clients and you will build and grow a lucrative and sustainable business
Here’s that link again