Last week, we talked about two strategies than can help you expand and grow faster in your business. Today, we talk about the fine art of client selection and retention.
The first strategy we talked about was how to find out why clients really buy from you. We gave several ideas on how to uncover these secrets to help you build extraordinary relationships.
The second strategy we talked about was why most businesses struggle to identify who they should be working with and how to position what they offer clients. A large part of this strategy involves you becoming an authority in what you do for clients. This also means being willing to hold both yourself and the client accountable to a higher set of standards.
The first two strategies leverage your current relationships and your ability to share stories to help expand your influence within clients. Now we’re on to the third strategy of expansion. The third strategy is how to get better new clients. By using all three we are able to become market leaders.
To get better clients, you have to know who you want to add to your client portfolio. This happened for me when many of my clients started preparing to retire. I had to either lose all the time I spent doing the first two strategies with my best clients. I also knew that I’m very good at adding marquee clients over a reasonable amount of time. The key word here is reasonable. You cannot build great relationships overnight. Unless you know of a problem they might be experiencing that you provide a proven solution to. When a person has a tooth ache, they are less likely to put it out to bid.
First, put together a list of clients you would like to work with. Take some time and consider what would excite you about working with a new client. Pick a list of no more than 20 organizations that you would like to work with. Now that you’re locked in, start doing the easy work of looking for an opportunity to serve them.
With all the tools available today to help you better understand your clients, why do so many people try to cold call their best potential clients? If you invest several weeks in observing what potential clients are doing, it won’t be long before an opportunity pops ups. Sales today is more about identifying trigger points for your products and services, and then engaging clients at the best time, or better yet, ahead of the curve. Do you know what the trigger points are for your best clients? We will talk about trigger points in a future blogs and I’ll share several great low cost resources to help get you started.
Second, when looking to break into a company know how they see your products and services. For many years my best clients were consultant friendly organizations. You don’t have enough time as a midmarket organization to make two sales; one for your product or service, and the second for why you’re the best choice for this decision. There are many ways to nurture clients to help them raise their hands.
I use my blogs as my nurturing tool of choice. You can either write your blogs to showcase your skills, or write them so potential clients can see themselves working with you on similar challenge that you have shared and brought to their attention. For example, I’m an executive coach for CXO level clients. My blogs are designed to paint a picture of me doing what I do best for my clients. In my case, the senior level pain points that my clients tell me I help them with.
We all need to connect on a personal level with our clients. I’m certain that my best clients have too many choices for their executive coach. How do you highlight your client’s successes? My preferred method is to invest more time on the front end of the relationship. That and let the facts speak for themselves. When clients retire, I’m the first to know and, many times, the client will help facilitate additional opportunities to work with them beyond their current role.
Finally, develop a multi-faceted relationship with your clients. Most of my clients invest significant time working for causes. They are tireless in helping their nonprofits be successful. I do significant work with nonprofits because it’s a great place to find my best clients. I also like the fact that my clients care for more than just themselves, but also for future generations. My clients love to introduce me to their causes and most of their causes appreciate the attention.
A good business development strategy is to find a hobby your clients also enjoy. In my career, many business development professionals use golf, I’m am average golfer. For me, I bond over photography and their kid’s future.
I don’t have children, but I still think like a big kid. I can remind mom or dad they used to be challenging themselves. You cannot imagine the great conversations I have with parents about their kids. When I know their kids are in specific activities, I look for material I can send them to make their lives easier.
Now that we have several ways of approaching a client, I’ll leave you in Keith’s capable hands. His Wedge system can help you connect and get in to see more clients. He writes a blog every Tuesday that will give you great ideas on how to develop new relationships with clients.
This coming Monday, we continue our series on change with Jim Canterucci. Our early reviews have been amazing, so you still have time to catch up. See you Monday.