Keeping Clients in a Down Economy: Is Giving or Taking Better for Your Bottom Line?

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Times are tough. There’s no doubt about it.

That said, I had my best month ever in November, 2012 was my best year yet and 2013 Quarter 1 is on track to be my best quarter ever.  In fact, I surpassed my 2011 income (revenue and profits) with months still to go in 2012.

I don’t tell you that to brag, I tell you so that you can learn from what I’m doing, which, by the way, is almost the exact opposite of what many others are doing.

Hmm. . .note that I’m doing the opposite of a lot of other business owners and am having my best years ever-to-date.  I read this in one of Dan Kennedy’s books years ago and it never ceases to amaze me how true it is: look what others around you are doing and do the opposite.

So what’s my secret?  A + R + RFR (Attract, Retain and Raving Fans Refer)

Quite simply, in an economy where most business owners are scaling back and taking things away from their programs, and therefore their clients, I’m adding goodies and little perks.

Rather than spend more time, energy and money to recruit new clients, I’m showing current clients how much I value them by going above and beyond, thus creating raving fans who are telling others and then those others are coming to me.

Is every person I speak with hiring me?

Of course not, when it’s a good fit and a win/win for us both, we get together. When not, we had a great conversation and now know more about each other (a new connection is always a good thing!).

Here are a few examples of what I do which may inspire you with your clients and leads:

  • Send a welcome gift to new Team Sandy clients (it’s a book which I highly recommend and feel everyone should read)
  • Send a different welcome gift to new private clients
  • Send a handwritten card to new clients and those I have a strategy session with
  • Send items via snail mail and yes, incur the ongoing fulfillment cost, if I think it adds to the program and increases the client’s experience (such as our print newsletter for Get It Done Right)
  • Send flowers or other appropriate gifts to clients who have a breakthrough or realize a great success (recent examples include a client who signed a book contract with a major publisher, another who stopped taking insurance and a 3rd who launched a membership program in an industry where you wouldn’t expect one and quickly got her first sign-up)

You see, it isn’t about how much revenue you can bring in — it IS about how the client feels when doing business with you.

My Request To You

Walk away from your desk, think of a client and ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does she feel valued?
  • Does she feel your work together far outweighs the investment?
  • And, even when it’s time to move on from the relationship, does she know that she’s welcome back and valued for your time together?

Do this for several clients.

If you’re unsure in any way about how your clients would answer the above 3 questions, it’s time to either ask or amp up the quality of your client experience.

After all, without clients you don’t have a business. . .and attracting clients is only the first step.