New clients, or the lack of, can make or break a business. But what about retaining existing clients? Here at ramarketing we’ve found it’s much easier to keep existing clients than it is to win new ones, whatever the sector. How I hear you ask? By showing them the love…

That might sound strange, but by simply showing your existing clients a little TLC you’ll be showing them you value them… no matter how big or small they may be when it comes to your bottom line. And, doing so may just mean they come to you for repeat/increased business.

Account retention should be at the forefront of your mind during all of your day-to-day communications with your clients and what better way to build those all-important relationships with them than to show them a little love…

1. Consistency is key

Sounds straight forward right? You’d be surprised. Depending on your role and the sector you work in, you might only be involved in winning new business rather than retaining clients once you get them over the line. For example, you might be in business development or sales, handing over clients to a project manager or account team once they’ve signed the contract.

If this is the approach in your business, it might be better to appoint one consistent point of contact for your client to co-ordinate activity and generally make sure everything is going well.

I’m not saying your business development or sales teams should become project managers, but it might make sense to have this point of contact in the picture from day one, alongside other members of the team who might be required at different stages of the project.

2. Small details make big things happen

Simply spending some time getting to know your clients can make a big difference. Now, I’m not saying you need to be intrusive and ask them for their life story or personal information, but keeping your eyes and ears peeled for small details can make big things happen.

Have they mentioned a partner or children? Take note of their names and ask how they are. Have they told you they’re off on holiday? Perhaps you’ve been where they’re going and can give them some recommendations? Know when their birthday is? Then why not send them a card or gift. Did they mention their favourite biscuit or hot drink? Have it ready for them next time they come in for a meeting.

Remembering these little gems that come up in conversation can go a long way to showing you care and it’s always nice to put a smile on their face!

3. Treat them every so often

Treating your clients every so often is a brilliant way to show them you care. If you’re constantly on the look out for small details you’ll soon spot opportunities to put a smile on their face. Think birthdays, anniversaries, engagements or other milestones.

What about gifts for Christmas or Easter? Or, perhaps they observe totally different celebrations or traditions within their culture or religion, a small token recognising this could go a long way.

It’s always canny to be canny so if you know they’ve got an occasion coming up send them a card or gift from the team to help them celebrate. It costs nothing (or very little) to be nice so send them a little treat and make them feel special.

4. Face up to face-to-face

There’s nothing worse than an email-only relationship, so get out of the office and go and see your clients. As you get to know them, you’ll find out how they like to work. Whether that’s email updates or regular phone calls, but make sure you make time for some face time too.

Have you considered working on site with your clients? There’s no substitute for putting yourself in your clients’ shoes and getting to know their business inside out and what better way to do that than to spend a day in their company? So, ask them if they’ve got a spare desk for the day. No matter what the nature of your client relationship is, everyone likes to say they’re an extension of their clients’ team or working in true collaboration, but what better way to show it than to actually immerse yourself in the company.

If they’re in a different geographical territory to you and regular face-to-face meetings aren’t feasible, then try and get to them as much as you can. Even if its once a quarter or every six months. The cost of a flight won’t seem as bad when they pay their invoices.

5. Get social

The best clients are the ones you’re friends with outside of work. The ones you can have a beer with or take for dinner. Take every opportunity to get social with your clients. Going for a drink? Having a party to celebrate a milestone in your business? Hosting an event? Then invite your clients along too.

Use these opportunities to introduce your clients to the wider team. Especially if there are other members of your team in more of a supporting role who might not have met them. Why not take your client and your team for dinner and introduce everybody so they can put a face to the name?

You won’t be best friends with your clients overnight, but by getting to know them socially and by using all the other tips in this blog, I’m sure you’ll be building strong relationships with them in no time.

So, there you have it, five simple ways to put a smile on your clients’ face and build a relationship that can stand the test of time. After all, it’s nice to be nice!