One of the cornerstones of successful marketing, is to retain as many great clients (or customers) as possible. Otherwise, growing your client base is like trying to fill a bucket that has a hole in it.
When I started out in business, I identified 2 things that guaranteed a new client project would start off, and progress, in the best possible way. I’ve used them with every client since. These 2 components create a super strong foundation for outstanding client retention and marketing results.
When I share this marketing idea with clients, I begin by introducing them to the 2 friends I bring with me to every project. Their names are; availability and willingness.
It’s essential to have enough time available to absolutely delight your clients or customers.
Many business owners work on too many projects simultaneously. They overload themselves. This approach fails the client. It fails the business owner too. In fact, it fails all round. When a service provider is unable to respond to the needs of their clients in a timely way, the client is left waiting. When a service provider has too little time to provide the level of service required, the quality of the service plummets. The reputation of the service provider plummets, too. This leads to low levels of client retention. And very few, if any, referrals.
The most successful business owners know how to avoid this from happening. Here’s what they do.
They charge a fair fee / price, which allows them the time needed, to provide the availability and quality of service required, to delight the client. They then develop outstanding client relationships. They enjoy exceptionally high client retention and are inundated with great referrals.
That approach sounds obvious. But just look at how few service providers get it right!
Being available is absolutely essential. But it isn’t enough.
We need to inform people of our willingness. And then demonstrate it. After all, a disinterested person who contributes nothing to a project is technically available. We call those people RHINO’s… Really Here In Name Only.
What’s the best way to establish our willingness?
I’ve found the most effective strategy is to let everyone on the project know you’re willing, from the start. Right at the beginning. So don’t keep it a secret. Tell them you’re eager, motivated and happy to help.
Here’s a very recent, real-world example of what this looks like.
I joined a new client’s Basecamp group this morning. The very first thing I did was introduce myself to the team and encouraged them to bring me their problems and ask me questions. There’s no ambiguity there. I made my genuine willingness clear, so they can feel 100% comfortable asking me anything.
As things progress, we demonstrate our ongoing willingness to delight our clients by being consistently proactive.
Many service providers are reactive. They wait until a client contacts them. Some even see it as a win, if they don’t hear from a client for a long time! That’s a short-sighted approach to building a successful business.
If we haven’t heard from a client in a while, we need to reach out. I do this by sharing useful information with them or simply ‘checking in’ to see how things are progressing.
In short, availability and willingness don’t get mentioned much. But they’re essential components for delighting your clients and developing a highly respected, successful business.