5 Strategies Guaranteed to Improve Client Retention
Last week, we covered the 5-step system for generating unlimited leads. So in this post, let’s cover how you can keep those leads once they’ve become clients. All too often, I see business owners doing at least 3X more work than they need to just getting leads, because they haven’t keeping those clients once they have them. In staying with our 5-step theme, here are some tried-and-true strategies to improve your client retention.
1. Get to Know Your Client
This may seem very obvious, but it’s amazing how many people I coach who don’t take the time to really get to know their clients.
This means not only asking questions around what you can sell/offer them, but having real conversations with them to dive a little deeper. Learn who they are, what their goals for the year are and why, and what they are passionate about and why.
For service-based and coaching business, meet with your clients at least once a quarter (in person, on the phone/Skype, etc.) and discuss their wins, lessons, and events of the last quarter, as well as plans for the coming quarter and how you both can help each other. Don’t be afraid to show your client that you ALSO have challenges and discuss how you are dealing with them, because this makes you much more relatable.
For product businesses, send your customers periodic surveys asking these types of questions via email. You can still get back a lot of valuable data!
2. Create a Feedback System
It’s important to have a feedback system in place to learn what you’re doing that works and that doesn’t, so you can adjust as you go. To do this, think of your top (or favorite) 1-3 clients, and then reach out to them via phone, Skype or (best option) over coffee or lunch and ask them a few questions.
- If you were in a position to refer me to someone, would you? (Depending on their answer ask for a few reasons why or why not.)
- What is your biggest goal for this year? What would accomplishing that do for you?
- What are your key frustrations, issues, and/or concerns right now in your business? How is that affecting you and your progress toward your goal?
- Would you like me to help you with this challenge? (If yes, set an appointment for that. If no, just say no problem, let me know if/when I can help.)
- When I asked you if you would refer me to someone and you said “yes”, who were you thinking of? Get their details to possibly get a referral.
Go large: Aside from your top clients (who should always get the personal touch from you), you can also craft a survey similar to this online using a service like SurveyMonkey and send it to your mailing list.
For product-based businesses, consider a survey that asks your customers why they chose your product, how they want to use it/have used it, how happy they are and why.
The answers you get to these questions may lead to new services or products, and should direct all of your sales language.
3. Teach Your Clients How to Retain Clients
As you work to solidify your client base, build relationships with clients who LOVE you, and grow your revenue, you can also teach your clients how to do the exact same thing! By teaching your clients how to grow their business, you further cement your relationship with them and they will be more likely to refer you to others.
4. Have an Onboarding Process
Set the expectations from the very beginning and build a process that is the same for each client. This should go from lead magnets to nurturing, to sales, signing, and ongoing support.
A basic onboarding process is all that is needed in most cases. This means establishing what happens when you get a lead, what emails get sent to nurture leads (and when), who reaches out to make the sales calls, the contracts that are written up and sent, and so forth. Internally, it can be written into a step-by-step process, but all your client knows is that they are being well taken care of by someone who knows what they’re doing!
5. Be Nice Unexpectedly
This is your chance to go above and beyond in little ways for your clients. Surprise them with cards, gift cards (related to their interests/needs), send handwritten thank you notes.
For example, send them a card on their birthday. Or if they’ve mentioned how much they love Panera, send them a $15 gift card with the note “lunch is on me.” If they have important dates (wedding anniversaries, business anniversaries, etc.), send a card or note on those dates to show you are paying attention and care.
For an extra touch, reak up your client base into sections and decide to take 1-2 of them to lunch each month. Schedule these in advance and use the time to catch up. These lunches often provide you with details and/or referrals you never would have gotten otherwise!
Bonus Tip: If you’re not able to do all of these steps yourself due to time constraints – great! That is a good problem to have as a business owner, because it means it’s time for your team to grow. It’s time to bring on an assistant who can take some of these items off your plate so you can free yourself up to grow even more.