Regardless of the impact of Covid-19 and the limitations we are facing in terms of meeting people physically, we should be in touch with clients in any event. How do you keep them engaged? Communication is key!
It is a no-brainer that the success rate of getting more work from existing clients is far greater than chasing new clients to get work. This should be one of the reasons your clients are always your key priority. It is great if you come a across a fantastic opportunity which is brought to you by a prospect, but chasing them as part of your core sales strategy is probably not going to help you much (unless you start from scratch and you have no clients).
What is it that we can do to keep clients engaged? See below for six tips that should help you keep your clients engaged.
It is one of the easiest things to do: pick up your phone and talk to your clients. Ask them how they are doing, how their business is doing and have a genuine conversation in which you show interest in their lives, in their business, in their problems.
2. Be sympathetic
Try to be understanding of their situation, they may be going through rough times, personally or professionally, show that you care and be understanding. If they didn’t pay your bills as fast as they did the other day, don’t complain but ask how you can help or perhaps don’t even bring it up at all and try to figure out what is the underlaying reason before you judge and take action. Make sure your clients feel comfortable to share their problems and frustrations with you, in this way you start to build trust.
Make sure you keep your clients well informed about anything you think is of relevance to them. It could be an article you saw in the newspapers, a book that was published, changes to rules and regulation, etc. You may want to send them your thoughts and opinion about a specific topic in an email, just to let them know you are thinking of them and it shows you are willing to help their business. They may not be interested in generic company newsletters, but you don’t know until you ask them. If they don’t want to receive them, make sure to take them off the mailing list.
4. Don’t assume, ask!
Similar to point 3, make sure you know what your clients want and how they want to be communicated to. If they don’t want to receive company newsletters, unsubscribe them but only until they personally told you to do so. Don’t assume they don’t want to receive invites to webinars or seminars, ask them. It is easy to pick up the phone and ask the question, in fact, it gives you another genuine opportunity to speak to your clients: win win! Don’t assume they are too busy to speak to you and therefore you avoid getting in touch with them, ask! Don’t assume they have no budget to spend this year, ask!
5. Free advice
How nice is it if someone offers you to do something for free, to do you a favour without having any further intentions? You can do your clients a favour every now and again and it doesn’t even have to be related to the services you usually offer, so it doesn’t have to affect your billable hours. You can do your clients a favour by helping them out with making choices, for example if you know their kids go to school, you could help them with some background info about different schools, if they buy a new car, which insurance they should chose etc. Just be a sparring partner and the best thing is, they will probably want to return the favour at some point.
6. Social activities
If you can, take your clients to something they really like. That could be dinner, drinks, perhaps a round of golf or tennis, a theatre show etc. Do something they like to do as it will ensure they will feel comfortable. If you show interest in their hobbies, and perhaps you even have the same hobbies, you have a common ground and you can really start bonding and strengthening your relationship. It is unnecessary to say that there is profound research which shows that it is easier to bond with people when you have something in common.
If you can’t physically meet, you can still have a social online conversation with your clients. If you know they like movies, share a Netflix recommendation, or perhaps, slightly outside of the box, if you have a friend with interesting stories to share, invite them to one of your social online client meetings to get the conversation going. You could also consider getting a comedian to do a show for a select group of clients online, make them laugh and take them off the day-to-day for a bit. Everyone needs that every now and again!