If you want to build a stronger business, your relationship with existing clients is absolutely critical argues GRAEME ROSS of Anderson Anderson & Brown.
There’s an old adage in business which is still true today. It’s much easier to sell your latest product or service to your existing client base than it is to go out and find new customers. So keeping a good relationship going is clearly in your financial interest. But it’s worth focusing on some of the other advantages too.
In many market places, you may find your competitors are becoming more and more aggressive in targeting your client base. A strong partnership is far and away your best defence, as clients are much more likely to tell you of any approach or meetings that might have taken place. You then have the opportunity to set out your own stall.
When a relationship is well cultivated, the chances are that many of your clients might also be prepared to refer you to others. This word-of-mouth recommendation is an excellent way of growing your business organically.
Of course, I’m not talking about a relentless sales pitch. Your clients won’t want that at all. It’s about keeping in touch with them and letting them know about what you’re able to offer. Ultimately, they have the choice over whether to listen and act.
It’s important you’re aware of what other people in your business are doing at any one time. There’s nothing more frustrating for a client than having a conversation with you in which you’re oblivious to a meeting which took place with a colleague just days before. This is where Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can play a very positive role. They allow you to record all your contact on a regular basis, so you can see at a glance all the meetings and phone conversations that have already taken place.
The more you speak to your clients, the more you’ll understand their business. These regular conversations will allow you to make intelligent interventions and seize appropriate opportunities when they come up. But balance is important. Plan the calls or meetings in your diary and make sure that they are neither too seldom nor too frequent.
The long-term benefits of keeping in touch are mutual. You gain opportunities for new business and your client knows they have a reliable partner they can turn to at any point.