As a business leader of a large company, there’s no shortage of responsibilities on your shoulders. This is the way you prefer it — you can maintain oversight to ensure everything is running smoothly. But when it comes to maintaining client relationships, you know you have to let your employees take the lead so every client gets the specialized attention they need to keep their business long term.
To fully ensure your company stands out from the other companies who are competing for your clients’ business, relationship management requires a more personalized approach. Here are three strategies you and your team can use to help build stronger, longer-lasting client relationships.
Let Your Business Guide Your Approach
A strategy that works well for one type of business may not work for another. Your business vertical and target audience should be a key consideration when determining a unique and effective approach for building genuine relationships.
For example, if you have a law firm that specializes in estate planning or an insurance brokerage, you’re likely aware when a client’s loved one passes away. This can be a great opportunity to show that you care about your client on a personal level and that you think of clients as more than just an income stream. Show this by sending a handwritten sympathy card and a bouquet of flowers from FTD.
Celebrate Life’s Milestones
When working with a client, you often get little glimpses into their personal lives. Nurture this bond by celebrating some of life’s most precious milestones — like engagement, marriage or the birth of a child.
To celebrate your client’s engagement, offer to take him or her out for happy hour after work or send a nice bottle of champagne to their office. When a client gets married or has a baby, find his or her gift registry online (most big stores — like Target or Baby’s R Us have registries you can check out) and order something special you know they want. Gifts for milestone events like these often carry a lot of sentimentality, further cementing your bond with your client.
Identify Common Interests
It is basic human nature to like people who show interest in you. Use this principle to your advantage by maintaining a healthy curiosity about your clients, which will help you get to know them better. Identify any areas of common interest that you share and use these interests to come up with creative ways to treat your client to a special afternoon or night out.
If you love the same band and they are playing a show in your town, invite your client to go. Or if you are both huge fans of your city’s basketball team, splurge on a pair of courtside seats and have your client go with you after work. Find tickets online from a site like StubHub. Maybe you both love Korean food and there’s a new restaurant in town that you could try together for happy hour. Whatever activity you choose, by tailoring it to your client’s interests, you can make him or her feel special, naturally increasing loyalty to your company.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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Small and medium-sized businesses are often tempted into thinking that they don’t need to market their products or services. This complacency usually arises when the business has a loyal set of customers and growing revenues and profits. The company owner thinks that when the firm already has more customers than it can handle, it would be a waste to spend on business development.
While I am not a car person, per se, there are a few models that I tend to keep an eye on for what changes are made year after year, One year, there might be body styling changes, another, there might be a better engine, another year, they might have added airbags or something to that effect. The expectation has been that in a car’s first year or two in production, it still has “kinks” to get out of it before becoming what it could be.
The question begs to be asked, of course – why not keep the car the same once it has been produced? Why do engineers and other members of the product team need to continue to evaluate how the vehicle can be improved year after year?