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Keeping in Touch: The Surefire Client Retention Strategy

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Want to know the secret that all successful independent professionals and small business owners possess? The savvy ones know that the secret to long-term success lies in keeping in touch with their clients.

How do you do it? Change your focus from me to client. A simple strategy, yes, but also a powerful one. As independent professionals and small business owners, we work hard to develop trust and build credibility with clients. But then we can lose them after the first sale by not keeping in touch. Keeping in touch doesn’t mean sending a holiday card in December and calling clients when your sales are down. Your clients need to know you’re always there. When you care about clients they care about you.

So keep in touch on a regular basis. Think of it as a Keep-in-Touch Strategy (KITS). The two most important elements of a successful KITS are value and visibility. The content must add value that is then customized and communicated to the client frequently. Visibility consists of taking every measure you can to stay in front of the client without pestering. If you don’t stay visible you become invisible.

Think of these four C’s when implementing your KITS:

Competence. You provide relevant knowledge and expertise to clients. You actively demonstrate value.

Concern. You are genuine and sensitive to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of clients. You don’t take them for granted.

Consistency. Because actions speak louder than words, you do what you say you will do for them. Follow up, follow up, follow-up.

Commitment. You under-promise and over-deliver. Be accountable and accessible to clients. Think client focus first.

The Keep in Touch Strategy is low-key and subtle. It is soft-sell approach to marketing your small business. The secret to KITS over the long term is to use a variety of methods that are frequent, varied and customized.

Forward useful information. Clients expect you to know what’s important to them. Send links to websites they may find useful. Forward articles, newsletters and speaker handouts (assuming you have obtained permission, of course), or invite clients to seminars and trade shows. When clients know you’re on their side and you’re looking out for their best interest, you are building a long-term relationship with them. Stay informed. Stay knowledgeable about your clients’ industries by reading their trade publications and visiting their website frequently. Let them know you are a benignly interested observer of their business challenges and successes.

Consider the individual. People skills create relationships, and people do business with individual and businesses they know and trust. Build relationships with clients as individuals. Gather personal information they are willing to share, such as their birthday, the names of their children and spouses, their hobbies, the college or colleges they attended and how they still stay involved with them (such as following their football team or leading an alumni fundraising drive).

Pick up the phone. A friendly phone call periodically goes a long way in cementing a long-term relationship. These periodic calls can reveal client challenges that for you are potential sales opportunities. The more you keep in touch the more you learn and understand a client’s business and challenges. When your clients go through difficult times offer support, because out of difficulties grow new opportunities to serve. And when their businesses eventually turn around, these clients will remember who was there for them and who wasn’t.

Visit in person. Decide how frequently you should check in with your clients. As an example, you could schedule quarterly visits with them. These in-person visits – perhaps over a business lunch, with you picking up the tab – can anticipate and intercept problems. Use this time to learn more about the workings of your client’s business and suggest tactics and strategies to resolve problems even before the clients foresee them.

Remember the thank you note. An often overlooked but powerful Keep-in-Touch Strategy is the thank you note. Writing them is something that everyone knows they should do; yet very few actually do. A timely thank you note stands out: It differentiates you. It is proper business etiquette after any important meeting. Showing gratitude will give you a competitive advantage in relationship building with your clients.

Being in touch with long-term, satisfied clients leads not only to repeat business but referrals as well. Referrals are an independent professional’s and small business owner’s best source of qualified leads. A referral gives you instant credibility with the prospect – and it beats the heck out of making cold calls.

It is fine to use the word customer but always think of customers as clients. Never play hide-and-seek with your clients by disappearing after the first sale. You worked hard to earn your client’s business. Now work just as hard to keep and maintain it by keeping in touch.

Harness the power that comes from changing your focus from me to client. Embracing this powerful yet simple Keep-in-Touch Strategy will almost single-handedly transform your business. That is why you must make it a business priority. Your long-term client and business success may well depend on it.

Robert Moment is a business strategist and author of It Only Takes a Moment to Score found on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Robert shows entrepreneurs how to turn ideas into wealth, how to avoid becoming a statistic and have FUN ! Download the FREE Special Report , 17 Profitable Ways to Turn Your Ideas into Money at http://www.sellintegrity.com

Keeping in Touch: The Surefire Client Retention Strategy
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About Robert Moment
Robert Moment is a business strategist and author of It Only Takes a Moment to Score found on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Robert shows entrepreneurs how to turn ideas into wealth, how to avoid becoming a statistic and have FUN ! Download the FREE Special Report , 17 Profitable Ways to Turn Your Ideas into Money at http://www.sellintegrity.com WebProNews Writer
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