Sources say that it costs, 4 to 10 times more to acquire a new client or customer compared to retaining an existing one. Given that, why do we spend more time thinking about and trying to acquire new clients, rather than focusing on increasing client retention? Perhaps it’s the thrill of the hunt and the sense of accomplishment that comes with signing on new clients. Or maybe it’s the excitement and affirmation that your business is growing and moving forward.
Of course, finding new clients is necessary. The ability to retain existing clients however, is imperative and a crucial element of success if you are looking to grow your business. Here’s why:
- Retaining existing clients is a sign of satisfaction with your products and services
- Existing clients generate referrals
- If you’re signing on new clients, but losing existing ones, you’re not really growing
Below are some thoughts and tips to help you focus more on retaining existing clients and ultimately increase client retention.
This article is written from the perspective of the service industry. However, the following concepts can be applied to any business that in one way or another, is involved in sales.
Set expectations early
Throughout the sales process and when you first start working with a new client, it’s important to establish expectations right away. Let them know how the process works, when and how they can reach you, when and what results they can expect, and also what their responsibilities are as clients.
Look past the moment
Signing on a new client is exciting and rewarding. It’s a victory and it’s important to enjoy and celebrate the moment. However, it’s also crucial to look forward. Whether the agreement reached will last for three months, six months, two years, or longer, eventually, that future date will arrive. Right from the start, it’s important to recognize this and to view your new client not only as a “victory” but more importantly as a high priority prospect for repeat business.
Make note of the assignment’s completion date. If no formal date has been set, project as best as possible when the working agreement will come to an end. Set “check-in” dates leading up to this point, and have them serve as personal reminders to assess the appropriateness of discussing continuance of services with your client.
Listen for needs
When working with your clients, always be attentively listening for new needs and issues they may be dealing with. There may be other things you can help them with now or in the future.
Provide great value and service
In order to keep clients, you must provide them great value and service. That’s fundamental and vital. Equally important is that your clients know and understand the value you are providing them. It’s okay to remind them what they’re gaining from their work with you. Also, don’t forget to acknowledge and thank them for their loyalty!
Bring the best “you” to the table
When working with or doing work for clients, it’s important that you’re the best “you” that you can be. Your clients can tell when you are at your best. They also know when you’re not. Make sure you always bring your best “you” to the table.
Only you know all the ins and outs of what goes into ensuring that you’re performing at your best, however, there are some universal things to consider. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
This also pertains to your team and their work and interactions with your clients. Of course, you can’t control their sleeping patterns, eating and exercise habits, or personal lives. You can, however, provide your team members with processes and tools to grow and develop both professionally and personally, to develop a greater connection with your organization, and to better understand their role and impact in helping the company achieve its goals.
Timing, timing, timing
Remember, timing is everything. Only you can judge the appropriateness of when the timing is right to discuss repeat business with clients.
Do you provide great services to your clients? Do you want to provide even greater services by improving where, what, and how you are spending your time? Do you want to grow your business?
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