In any industry, your client list is a goldmine – and please note: I use the word “client” for a reason.
Now, although it’s relevant to say “customer” sometimes, the word client is far superior. And I’ll tell you why.
A customer is someone why buys products or services from you. A client is someone who uses your products or services… But it also introduces another idea. The idea of protection, care or guidance.
So where a customer is someone who gives you money in return for a product or service; a client is someone who comes to your for guidance, and you take care of them as you provide them with a product or service.
This way, they won’t come to you for a product or service… They’ll come to you for an experience. They like and trust you enough to accept your guidance, as the expert in your field. They will make decisions on what but buy, based on your guidance. You make a client feel safe, special and cared for, within your long-term relationship.
Now, without this trust, the value of your client list will plummet. So what can you do to nurture and maintain this relationship?
Know Your Market
You need to have a crystal clear idea of the “type” of person who buys your products and services. If you don’t have a clear idea of your “typical customer”, then you’re going to be leaving money on the table.
Whenever you’re creating marketing materials or adverts for your customers, you have to be able to create a message that will apply to a significant chunk of these people. So know who they are, how they speak, what they value, and most importantly: what they respond to!
Pick Your Clients
If you want to build a list that’s worth nothing, let your customers choose you. Does this sound like you:
- If someone offers me money, I’ll always take the job…
- I take jobs that aren’t relevant to my expertise…
- I’m scared to take a deposit… And so I sometimes end up doing unpaid work…
- I never turn potential customers away…
If any of the bullet points above describe you, then you’re lowering the value of your customer list. Sometimes, you have to be prepared to say “No”. As I mentioned under “Know Your Market”, you need a “typical customer”. I’m not saying that you should ONLY ever sell to stereotypes. I’m simply saying that you need a list of people who AT LEAST have the same desire for what it is that you do. Once you start adding people to the list who aren’t interested in your main product or service, you’re diluting your list.
Communicate With Your Clients On A Regular Basis
You don’t need to email people every day in order to stay in touch. A monthly, or even quarterly newsletter can help you to stay in the minds and hearts of your clients.
Whatever it is that you choose to send to them, make sure it’s something they’re likely to value. So again, knowing your market is of paramount importance. A few things that people are likely to value include:
- Special offers for products and services that they actually use.
- Free samples
- Knowledge that is relevant to them.
There are many more, but I’m sure that you can come up with tons by yourself.
Another thing you need to do is to make sure that you make them feel special. So if you’re going to send them special offers, make sure that these offers are EXCLUSIVELY available to people on your list. That way, they’ll feel as though they’re part of a special club, or community – giving them more of an incentive to stay with you. Remind them of what they’re getting, compared to everyone else, and they’ll treasure your relationship.
Client Care / Customer Service
This is pretty much standard. Take care of your clients, and they’ll take care of you. Once someone purchases from you, they’re more likely to purchase from you again – even if you mess up their order…
NOTE: If you mess up their order and leave them alone, they’ll probably hate you for it, and they’ll tell all of their friends to avoid you. However, if you admit that you messed up, and resolve the problem, you’ll build more trust.
This actually happened to me once… I’m not saying any names… But I got a laptop from a well-known computer shop. A few months before the warranty ran out, my laptop stopped working. I took it back, and they had set up a series of hoops for me to jump through in order to sort things out. Things were never resolved to a satisfactory level. Ever since then, I made sure my friends never purchased a thing from this store. Funnily enough, it turns out they’re actually closing down now.
Maybe they did the same thing to people all over the country. Who knows?
But on the other hand, there is another store where my friend purchased his PS3. A year later, it broke down. He took it back to the shop – And guess what…
They just plugged it in, and when it didn’t work, they have him a voucher for the full price that he had originally paid. No further questions asked!
With that voucher, he was able to get a BETTER version of the PS3, and still had enough money left to get a digital camera.
So not only did that boost his trust with them, as he know they’ll take care of him – but he also told all of his friends… And now we trust them too!
Now that’s what I call customer service.
And by the way, they’re still in business… And it’s booming!
As a business owner, you NEED to know your customers and what they value. Build a list of clients – not just customers. And make sure that you work on your relationship with your clients list. Once they trust you, you need to build and maintain it, and they’ll be happy to help you to succeed.