It took weeks (if not months) to land that important client. You did your research, circled the company until you found a point of entry, and made the call. Then, of course, the “selling” started. You got to know the company, its goals, and its pain points — all while trying to establish rapport.
And after countless meetings and plenty of hoop jumping, executives finally started to see you as a trusted and strategic partner and signed on — so why the sudden cold shoulder?
The thing is, your work doesn’t stop after you sign the deal. Your business’s success, after all, is built on client relationships. But like many companies, you devote so many resources to generating leads and securing new business that there are few left to nurture the clients you already have.
When you neglect your existing clients, however, you seriously jeopardize your customer retention rates. Indeed, 68 percent of customers leave a business due to service issues.
Luckily, the trick to keeping them around is fairly simple. You just need to continue stalking them and their industries. Trust me, it’s not as creepy as it sounds. You’re actually providing better customer service, and this strategy could really improve your retention rates.
Stay in the Loop
Stalking your clients doesn’t involve hiding in the bushes in the dead of night. The process is very similar to pursuing new clients. Here are seven essential steps you can take to “stalk” your clients:
Gain a Competitive Edge
You need to stay constantly informed on a client’s industry, so customize your news stream through curation engines such as Gagein, Google News, and Yahoo News. Getting ahold of your client’s reading list can also help you stay up-to-date on industry trends and uncover opportunities to improve your services.
Schedule Face-to-Face Meetings
Even if there are no pressing matters, get in front of your clients to strengthen your relationship. Face-to-face meetings give clients a chance to get to know the people they’re working with, which can take a business relationship to a more personal level.
Offer Thoughtful Advice
Acting like a true business partner makes you indispensible because it demonstrates your commitment to the client’s success — not just your own. Take the time to ask questions outside of your business agenda, then offer your advice at no additional charge.
Over-Deliver Your Services.
By providing more than the conditions of your contract, you create tangible value in your services. In fact, 55 percent of customers will pay more for better service, so the extra effort may lead to increased budgets or contracts for additional services.
Social media may be a great way to generate new leads, but it can also help nurture your existing client relationships. Connect with clients on social channels like LinkedIn or Google+, and join in their conversations. These conversations can inform your interactions going forward.
Lead the Conversations
Commit to writing 3,000 words a month on topics that interest and add value to your clients (and your prospects, for that matter), and post your insights on your blog, social forums, and publications on your clients’ reading lists. Doing this will establish you as an industry thought leader and strengthen a client’s confidence in you and your services.
Get to know the competition.
You already know your clients, but can you say the same for their competitors? Taking the time to understand the competition shows that you’re committed to providing your clients better solutions, so use a tool like Google Alerts to keep up-to-date on the marketplace.
It’s no longer an option to stop researching your clients. Customers are conditioned to expect it, and if you don’t fill that need, your competitors certainly will. The competition will take advantage of any opportunity to woo prospects — even those already content and comfortable with their vendors. If you don’t devote time to nurturing your existing clients, you’re just giving them a reason to leave you.