Building long-term client relationships is vital for professionals who work in industries with long sales cycles. But, with an ever-growing to-do list and a packed calendar, how do you find time?
Strengthening your client relationships is also a wise investment. Did you know that gaining a new customer costs up to 25 times more than keeping an existing one? Plus, when happy (retained) customers praise you, their referral business is practically free. To reach new audiences or buy leads, you should first market to your existing customers.
Here are some tips for creating genuine connections with your clients.
1. Constantly communicate
Your clients need to know. Whether you’re a real estate agent with multiple offers on a property or a loan officer with a mortgage that may not go through, inform your clients regularly and proactively. When in a sales process, overcommunicate. So they don’t have to constantly track you down to find out what’s going on, reach out and inform them.
2. Be Honest
You will run into issues. Nobody gets their way. Financing fails. Credit scores are too low. Someone else has bid on their dream home. Their desired insurance coverage will be more costly than expected. Life happens, and you must be honest about any roadblocks you encounter. It’s better to face the music than to avoid bad news. It’s difficult and time-consuming to regain client trust.
3. Improve their lives
In essence, if you add value to people’s lives, they will remember you and refer you to others. Your service is obvious, but serving as a guide and sharing your industry knowledge will help them remember you as a valuable resource. If a client has a question that isn’t directly related to your transaction, let them know. Create and send useful, relevant content that educates the client.
Know your customers. Empathize with their situation and try to see it from their perspective. Know what they want and assist them. Take notes and keep track of them so you remember who they are in five years. Needs change, but don’t start from scratch. Investing in a CRM tool can help you keep track of each client’s history and details to better serve them.
5. Reward Loyal Clients
Thank your customers for returning or referring friends and family. Make sure you thank your VIPs and don’t just contact them to sell them something.
The last thing you want after the transaction is the relationship to end. That’s why it’s vital to keep talking. But how do you do that when there’s no sale? Ways:
- Keep track of important dates (like their anniversary, birthday, or six months since your last communication) and send a personal note, card, or phone call. This is where your CRM will really shine.
- Send them useful content via email and social media in between personal touches. These points of contact remind them that you provided excellent service and are still available as a trusted expert to answer their questions. Clients are more likely to remember you when they or a friend needs your services again if you reach out with interesting content rather than direct sales messages.
Repetition and referral business require relationships. Keep in touch with previous clients so they can easily recommend you. Send a mix of messages, not just sales pitches. You know those annoying friends who never give? Don’t be that person in business. Providing value to your clients will earn their long-term loyalty.