Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
By Victoria Munro
Relationships are always important in business, but in today’s challenging economy, building strong client relations is vital. We want more than ever to invest our dollars with those we know, trust and believe in. Plus, the rewards personally and professionally of developing excellent relationships can be enormous. Below are some inexpensive marketing ideas based on relationships.
Let Your Clients Tell Your Story
Create a Compelling Ten-Second (or Less) Commercial
Tell real-life stories of your loyal clients' experience. When a client expresses appreciation for what you’ve done, ask for a testimonial. Be aware that they’ll probably value some help with this. Everyone is busy and, though they may fully intend to run back to the office and email you a glowing testimonial, life tends to take over. Better to suggest that you write down what they said, as closely as you can remember, and send it to the client for his or her approval.
When you meet someone at a networking event or anywhere, be ready with a brief, attention-grabbing commercial or elevator pitch that causes listeners to ask questions. Make it memorable, so that those hearing can easily tell others about you.
Ask Your Raving Fans for Help
Tell those who enjoy and appreciate your services or products that you’d like more clients like them. Let them know the type of client you’re looking for. Ask them for referrals—people like themselves who would benefit from what you offer.
Keep In Touch
Send newsletters, letters and emails that give the reader something of genuine value. Express your appreciation by sending thank you notes, or calling to thank those who’ve helped you—even in small ways. Sometimes call clients or potential clients with no sales agenda, just to see how they’re doing. Maybe ask if they have any needs you could help with.
Tell Them You Have the Solution
Clarify who your ideal client is and get to know their businesses well. Understand the problems and frustration they face. Find out what they want most. In all marketing, focus on the solution(s) you offer that meet their needs and wants. Develop a relevant message and keep it crisp and clear.
Let Current Clients Know You Care
Keep in touch. Studies show that the majority of customers leave not because of problems with services or products, but because of perceived indifference. They just don’t feel valued or appreciated. If you want to keep your clients and turn them into raving fans, you need to make sure they know you care about and appreciate them.
Building relationships takes time and patience. Be sensitive to the needs of others, be consistent, always be sincere and enjoy the process!
Remember, people do business with and refer people they know, like and trust. Whenever appropriate, get to know your clients and understand what makes them tick. In addition to their business or work, learn about their backgrounds, families and hobbies. Listen to them. Find out what’s important to them—what is the passion that drives them. Be alert to any current needs they have that you may be able to assist with.
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.
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About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
LLC, a company dedicated to creating success for
small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
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