The relationships that a company has with its clients are could be considered its most important asset. Think about it for a minute. If your best customers left and you had to replace them, what would that do to your bottom line? You might still have a solid product or service, but if you had to sell to new customers each time, your marketing costs would skyrocket and your business could fail.
I know, that’s the extreme. Now think about the value you’d see of retaining your clients and actually getting the benefit of word of mouth and referrals. Did you know that it costs 6 -7 times more to obtain a new client than to retain an existing client? If you take the time and effort to nurture those relationships, you’ll see the pay-off.
Here are 3 things to do to improve your business’ relationships today.
1) CONNECT – Make contact with your customers. In talking to business owners I frequently hear that they don’t have a plan to keep in contact with their customers. Some will have a quarterly review or send a holiday card, but so many are missing the opportunity to nurture those relationships through regular communications. So, pick up the phone and call some of your top clients. Focus on those you haven’t heard from in a few months. It’s amazing what connecting can do to getting more business.
2) GET SERIOUS WITH A CRM – Many small businesses don’t have a Customer Relationship Management system. In the past few years cloud-based CRMs have become widely available and affordable. They’re simple to set up and can track all the communications you have with a person or company, along with lots of other features that manage those relationships during and after the sales cycle. Consider AddressTwo or Batchbook.
3) INFORM – Once you connect, you have the chance to educate. These days, we talk about education as the key to bringing in business without really selling. In many cases a business will take on clients and provide them with a specialized service to meet their needs. While they consider you an expert in that area, they may not even know about the other services your company provides. Share that information so that they know to come to you to meet those needs.
Finally, once you’ve started, be consistent. Email marketing is one of the best ways to nurture relationships with customers and prospects. We believe that marketing is about education, and that’s what regular email communications do.