We’ve just had Valentine’s Day: a day of celebrating the love and romance you share with your significant other. Facebook was alive with photos of the romance that filled people’s day. From scattered rose petals, to beautiful bunches of roses. From breakfast in bed to candelit dinners. And from the romantic heart melting cards to the downright silly.
To keep your love alive though, there’s no point just relying on February 14th. The whole year should be filled with love notes, surprises (of the good variety) and an effort from both to add fun, interest and excitement to your relationship. (Well, that’s the theory anyway…I appreciate your days do get filled up with towels left on the floor and the washing up not done how you want… which can make for a rather less than romantic exchange!!).
The same goes with the relationship we have with our clients.
You will no doubt have heard the adage that it costs about five times as much to win a new client as it does to keep an existing one. I’ve heard that number to be as high as eight times.
It pays, therefore, to build and keep great relationships with the clients that you already have. Sending them hearts and roses and leaving little love notes in their lunch box may not necessarily be the right thing…but hang on…why couldn’t it?
Why couldn’t you send flowers or a card on a client’s birthday?
What about a handwritten note to say you appreciate them?
Why not take them out for lunch occasionally “just because”?
What else could you do?
Building relationships takes effort and you should be in it for the long haul. But just like with your personal relationships, it helps if you understand yourself first: Who are you? What are you about? What are your values? What business personality do you want to convey to the world?
The relationship you build with your client comes down to you and how you create your brand. Oddly though, your brand is the relationship your client has with you. Not the other way around. It’s what they think of you…BUT…it has to start with you and the values and message that you want to put out there. And so you start at that point.
Understanding your values and how you want them to be communicated is key to building those great relationships. That communication though comes at a subtle level: it comes from the little touches, the “how you are” and how you act, not necessarily from the service you provide (which we will assume is perfect).
One of my clients has a value of caring. There’s no real point in putting that in her company’s marketing messages, but she can show that value through the brand that she creates…through the actions that she and her staff carry out on a daily basis for their clients.
Another of my clients has a value of respect. Again, not something she can necessarily say on her website and leaflets, but she can communicate it through how she and her team act with their clients, from appointment booking through to after care.
One of my own values is fairness. There’s no point at all in me saying that on my marketing material. But all my clients know that they can rely on my for absolute down to earth, honest and fair advice. I HATE people being taken for a ride and I also don’t think it’s fair that a business should recommend company X just because they take an affiliate commission or get a kick back from them. And so I personally refuse to take commissions and kick backs, and I know deep in my soul that the advice and recommendations that I give are always fair and absolutely right for the client.
We all have a number of values, and there are a myriad of ways of “demonstrating” or “communicating” these to your clients. However, if your values come from your heart, then the ways in which you can show them will be entirely natural for you. You shouldn’t have to think about them too hard – but think about them you must.
As long as you are crystal clear about your values, and turn these into your “Keeping The Love Alive” strategy, then you are half way to building a strong and successful brand; one that will be recognised by your public for exactly what you want it to be recognised for.
And the bonus is – you get to have fabulous, fulfilling long term relationships with your clients.
And that’s a win-win for both parties.
Dedicated to your success,
Have a great week,