What are you doing about your happy clients?

August 6, 2011 at 10:04 am

By Karen Skidmore, CanDoCanBe

Attracting a new client can be as much as ten times more expensive than selling to an existing one.

When you are a brand new business, starting from scratch, this is the approach you have to take. You have no pipeline. No existing database. You have to get out there to engage and meet and greet potentially interested people.

But once you’ve got yourself established – once you’ve got your first few regular clients and customers – why do you keep on with the “must-get-new-clients” mantra?

This is an easy trap to fall in to, especially when shiny new marketing systems and tools flash up infront of you in web searches and blog articles.

But at some point, you have to move away from the “must-get-new-clients” focus because you will either run out of money or energy. It’s just too expensive and too exhausting to be out there, finding new prospects and potential leads, all of the time.

Once you’ve attracted one set of clients and they’ve bought what you have to offer, it’s time to get back on that conveyor belt of “must-get-new-clients”.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a case of resting on your laurels. Stop marketing and you will be out of business quicker than you can snap your fingers.

But at some point in your business strategy, it will become far more effective to start changing the focus of your marketing from “must-get-new-clients” to “get-clients-to-spend-more”.

Happy clients are happy to spend more money with you. Whether you sell products or offer a service, if a client or customer is happy with what you’ve offered, they are more likely to trust you and listen to you than go find another supplier where they have to start the whole getting-to-know-you process.

You’ve proved that you can solve their problems and you are now in the perfect position to keep that relationship going further.

So what can you do in your business to keep happy clients happily spending more money with you?

Create new products: If you’ve set up a retail business, you wouldn’t dream of offering just one product on your website. New seasons designs, latest upgrades, changes in colour and fashion – retail businesses have to keep offering new and exciting products. Give your clients an opportunity to come back for more.

It could be as simple as creating a new online course or e-book every few months. You could think bigger and create new programs, new widgets or new services. Find new ways of helping your clients solve their problems.

Offer associated products: You may not have the time or the inclination to create something new. But there will be other businesses’ products that you may be able to sell on commission. For example – Accountancy firms often re-sell accountancy software such as Sage. Massage therapists often re-sell massage oil products and relaxation tapes.

Create training programs: Do your products or services merit follow-up or additional training services? Following on from the accountancy firm example, it would be relatively straightforward to bring in a training company to offer training on the Sage software. I’m seeing more and more web design companies bolting on 3 or 4 hour training sessions for their clients to understand how to manage their own websites. Can you create a training program to add value to your clients’ experience of what it is you offer?

Create a membership model: Recurring income is one of the most secure income streams a small business can create. Regular monthly or quarterly sales coming from the same clients mean a regular income. And who doesn’t want a predictable, regular income as a small business owner?!

Re-package what you offer already: Occasionally a business will have a product where the content can remain the same, but by re-packaging it, they can re-sell it to the same clients. Great examples are of this can usually be found within information-based businesses who offer books and programmes. An audio version of a book can be listened to down at the gym but a paperback version is better for sitting by the pool. Offer both and you’ll find that some clients will buy both because the different versions give them different experiences, which they are happy to pay for.

Offer MOT sessions: Your client may be more than happy with what they’ve got from you and are ready to move on. But what are they up in to in 6 months? Do they need to check with you and review their progress? How are they using your products or the strategies you’ve helped them with? Review meetings and MOT sessions are a great way to bring a client back as well as offering a valued service.

Create a referral programme: OK this isn’t strictly speaking a way of creating opportunities for happy clients to spend more money with you. But the next best thing is to create opportunities for your happy clients to be your salesforce. It could be a monetary reward programme, but sometimes thank you gifts work better than hard cash. Try out different options with your happy clients.

If you really don’t know what to add – then ask your happy clients! Ask them about their other problems and grumbles and explore how you could provide a solution. If you can’t, or don’t want to deliver what it is they want, then source another supplier and arrange an associate fee or joint venture arrangement.

Have fun with your happy clients and enjoy building those life-long relationships!

“Karen Skidmore helps small business owners work smarter and use the right marketing tools so they can attract more of the right clients to their business. To subscribe to her free email newsletter and get access to practical advice and marketing ideas that will move your business forward, visit http://www.candocanbe.com

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