This blog post has been swirling around in my mind for weeks now, so I will apologise up front as it may be a long one!
For those who want an highlight reel, here it is:
- If you don’t have clients you don’t have a business
- Clients are people just like you and me and they want to feel special and important
- Find out something personal about your clients
- You have to cut through the digital noise, so be different….STAND OUT
- You don’t have to send a Christmas Card, what about celebrating the New Year with something special
- Don’t be boring, be on brand
- It isn’t as hard and as expensive as you imagine
- Stop chasing new clients and celebrate the clients you already have
- How much should you invest in retaining your clients?
- Take a little time
This morning I was thinking what new thing can I do or create to attract more clients and then I stopped quite abruptly and said Sarah are you kidding me! You are teaching businesses to nurture and develop relationships with the clients they already have to increase sales and gain more referrals, but you are not doing it yourself. If you read my last blog post you may see a recurring theme here…I am very much a work in progress myself. But that is ok, this blog is about me sharing with you what is working for me, not working for me or what I am learning from my clients and life.
My business is relatively new and very much in horizon one phase, a term coined by my business coach. I have a lovely group of clients and team members who I want to develop relationships with. I have clients I help a lot, others who are very self sufficient and some that need more love from me. The great thing is I am aware of this, because I learnt the hard way. This time last year my life was not going so well. I had a lot happen in my personal life and not a lot going on in my professional life. I simply stopped. I didn’t speak with my clients, I didn’t post on Social Media or send emails, I checked out. The result was I lost clients, my phone wasn’t ringing and guess what…I wasn’t earning any income from my business. Come early this year, I had to effectively start again.
ONE IS SEVEN CLIENTS WILL STOP DOING BUSINESS WITH YOU BECAUSE OF PURE INDIFFERENCE, THEY THINK YOU DON’T CARE
(Source: John Gatterna, Visiting Professor at MGSM)
So now is the perfect time to stop and have think about your clients. What would happen if you lost a number of them? For some businesses losing one clients can mean disaster, for other businesses it will take a whole lot more to make an impact. But what if you were to spin this around, how hard do you have to work to get a new client. Not only does it take time, it takes money and a whole lot of mental strength. For most of us, each of these elements are on slim supply.
Every client is a person. Someone who may or may not have a family, may love Football or love a glass of champagne on a Friday after work. Take some time to reflect on each of your clients and when it comes to celebrating them at any time of the year make it personal to them. Sending out 100 Christmas Cards is not the time to stress too much about this point, but if you are going to send gifts don’t send something that doesn’t mean anything. It is a waste of your time and money. I was chatting with a potential client yesterday about offering a choice of three gifts. I created a really cool graphic with the three options that will go on the inside left of the card. If the clients don’t choose by a certain date, then this business will choose for them, but I love the idea of her offering a choice. That simple gesture will make the recipients feel even more special.
I am not sure about you, but most nights I feel like my brain is going to explode. It is so full of things, thoughts, images, notifications, emails, to-do-lists, paperwork, what to cook for dinner, Mum, Mum! what I didn’t get done that day and so on it continues. On Facebook alone, 300 million uploads are made per day. (Source: Gizmodo)
Not only do we have to cut through the digital noise, we have to cut through the noise of life
In business today, we have to create content that will be seen, we have to compete with algorithms and ever increasing advertising costs. We have to do something different to stand out.
Today’s world is one of many cultures, beliefs and religions, so not everyone celebrates Christmas. It is important to know this about your clients. If you have a large number of clients, why not send a Happy Holidays Card or a Happy New Year Card. This way you can’t offend anyone, but still have the opportunity to thank your clients for their support throughout the year.
DON’T BE BORING, BE ON BRAND
You may not have the budget to get a fully designed card that has been personally illustrated just for your brand, but there are ways to incorporate your brand into your card.
- Choose a card in the same colours as your brand style
- Choose an image that is reflective of you or your brand
- Completely customise your card with a photo. This could be of your team or an image that means something to you. This doesn’t have to be on the front of the card, it could be inside.
- Include a funny team photo on the inside of your card
- Please don’t include your logo on the front of the card
- Include Custom Branding on the back of the card
- If you like everyone to sign the card, do it once on a piece of paper and insert an image of all the signatures.
I use and personally recommend SendOutCards . It is a really cool app and online system that allows you to create a one of a kind card, upload photos and write a personal message then press send. For as little as $3.00, SendOutCards will print the card, stuff in an envelope, stamp it and post it. Within 7-10 days your clients will receive a physical card in their letterbox. You can even add a gift.
I touched on this earlier, but I truly believe that if we stopped spending all our time and resources on chasing new clients and look after the ones we already have, then our businesses would start growing a lot faster. I am not saying stop filling up your funnel or networking, but start being aware. A great way to start thinking about your Client Retention Program is to look at what your clients generates in income to you each year. Depending on your product or service you will need to have a think about the profit generated too. In most cases the old 80-20% rule will apply. 20% of your clients will generate 80% of your income. You will be able to identify who your VIP clients are versus your entry level clients. Either way, they are all still important and deserve some recognition.
Below is an example I used for a presentation I gave to a team of Arbonne Consultants.
In this example a Preferred Client spends $1200 on skin care and make-up. A consultant makes 15% commission on these sales and profits $180 (excluding general business expenses of course). As shown here I have suggested a strategy that includes 4 cards and two postcards at a total cost of $16. Alternatively you could choose to send a Thank You card, a Birthday card and a Christmas Card for a total cost of $12. This leaves you $6 that you could spend on a little gift. It may be a sample that you gift them or a small gift.
I recommend the 10% rule. Re-invest 10% of the profit your client generates for you back into your Client Retention Program. Especially if you product or service is on-going and not just a one time purchase. Even if your service is only potentially used a few times in someones lifetime, please don’t underestimate the referral. With the starting costs of $3.00 per card including postage I would recommend that any client who spends $30 or more should receive at least one card from your business.
Stay tuned for more blog posts on Client Retention and Client Lifetime Cycles, so best that I pull up stumps here.
With a little thought and imagination there are so many gifts you can purchase for your clients. Think of ways you could potentially collaborate with another business and exchange products for services. I always recommend adding a card or gift tag to your gift and include words that genuinely express your gratitude and appreciation. In most cases the words are enough. SendOutCards also have bulk card orders where you can create a gorgeous bespoke designed card with your branding and you can order them with a message inside or blank.
Take a little time!
If this is your busiest time of the year, then relax and don’t worry about sending Christmas or Holiday Cards. You could take some time in January and send New Year Cards or why not start your own tradition that works for your business. I am a big fan of the celebrating the Anniversary from the first time a client started doing business with you. This could be when you present a special gift to your clients. Whenever you set aside time to plan and work on your business then this is the perfect time to work on your own Client Retention Program.
If you would like to learn more about my business and SendOutCards, then please give me a call on 0413 394 957 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a special way you celebrate you clients each year?