If you have not taken the time to get to know your clients you need to read this story. Back in 2001, I was a partner in a company. I owned a very small percentage of the company, which essentially made me a glorified employee with an ego. I became a part owner when the business was only bringing in $500,000 a year. Over the next five years, I helped that company grow to a $5.4 million company.
The majority shareholder of this company came to me and asked me to be the sales manager. I told him, “absolutely not!” He told me,” fine, I will hire a sales manager, and they will manage you.” After hearing that, I took on the role, managing my client base and four other people’s client bases as well.
I started by sitting down with each of my new employees to find out how they were performing. One of the guys, named Jim, was managing 240 clients. When I looked at the sales percentages he was responsible for, I saw it was less than 15%. I had 43 clients that were producing 70% of the overall company revenue.
After seeing Jim’s numbers, I realized that there must be something that I was doing that Jim was not. He should have had much higher revenue with the number of clients he was managing. I needed to help Jim make the transition from a massive quantity of clients to higher quality clients.
What was I Doing that Jim Wasn’t?
Getting to know my customers. Customers like businesses that know them personally over vendors that treat them like “just another client.” People like to be recognized and understood. Everyone views their service in a more positive light when they don’t feel rushed or ignored. All the little things you do over time to build that relationship matter! Spend time with your customers.
Think of your relationships on a personal level. You have friends, and you have acquaintances. Your acquaintances are people you know. You wave and say high when you see them. You might know where they work and what they do, but you don’t spend time with these people.
Then you have your activity friends. Your golfing or hiking or boating friends. You have a ton of fun with these people, but you don’t have a relationship with them outside of the activities you do.
Finally, you have close friends. People you actually spend time with. There is only so much time in the day, so much time and energy that you can pour into relationships. The client relationship works the same way.
4 Ways to Get to Know Your Clients
- Take them out to lunch. Take your client list, and look at who the top 25% of your revenue comes from. Put those clients on a list. Never eat lunch alone. Always eat lunch with someone who can make you money. Call up one of your top clients and take them out to lunch.
- Spend time with them outside of your work environment. At least 3-4 times a year I host a BBQ at my house. I invite my top 20 clients and their families. I provide food, drinks, and let everyone network with each other. It’s a great way to generate more business among your clients. If you can’t do this, pay for a game of golf with your clients or find another way to spend time with them occasionally.
- Know what a great referral for them looks like. Learn who could be a potential client for your client. If you don’t ever take the time to get to know your client, you won’t have that opportunity to grow their business. Your client will LOVE you if you refer new business to them.
- Get to know their business challenges. Get to know your client on a level where they share their business challenges with you. This way, you can make it your mission to solve as many of these challenges as possible. Go beyond what you are contracted to do in your business relationship. If you can go above and beyond for your clients, they will come back time and time again.
If you do these four things, you will get to know your clients on a personal level. You will be able to connect with them, find ways to meet their needs, and before you know it, you will become an integral part of their business.
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