Let’s talk about clients. We all have them, the good, the bad, and the ‘meh’! You may not like them all, but you need ‘em!
I don’t think I need to tell you why your clients are important. I’m not going to tell you they’re the reason you have a roof over your head and shoes on your feet, because you already know that. But I do want to talk about attitude. Why do some viable businesses fail, and some succeed? I believe attitude is a big factor… and the other factors? Well it all comes down to creating raving fans out of your clients. From the moment you meet… it’s all about keeping a smile on their face. :) From the first sales enquiry right through to sealing the deal and every interaction afterwards, your friendly and results-driven help (where nothing’s too hard) is going to make sales happen for you. And, if you’re not known for your happy-go lucky charm, here’s something to make you feel good about being helpful: you’re going to be charging for that happy, friendly time. Surely that’ll make you smile! Even if you sell fishing reels, you’re still selling your time, it’s just you get paid for it WHEN they buy that fishing reel, so make sure you’ve built in a tidy profit margin! Since we’re talking about profits, remember, people don’t mind paying a little extra if they like you and if they think they’ll get a better service. But hey, this isn’t a lesson in pricing, back to the raving fans…
So, let’s get into the ways you can impress, entice and convert clients and customers into raving fans…
Manage your client’s expectations from the beginning.
Communicate. Be transparent. Be open and approachable.
Now, speaking of expectations… I’ve noticed some people let themselves get pushed around by their clients. They’ll promise things that are near impossible… just to make the client go away. This is the way of pain my ABN’er!
Never be afraid of your client: you’re the expert. Whether you’re selling accounting or fishing reels, they need you and they need what you do. Don’t let the tough clients get under your skin. And, no matter how difficult they might be acting, what they really want is to feel your confidence that you’ll be able to deliver the goods.
But always be prepared to be tough when they’re being unreasonable. Fair and calm, but firm. And, just so long as you always deliver what you promise, your clients will respect you for it. And eventually, that respect could turn to raving fan-ness! Alright… enough of the tough talk… back to the raving fan bit…
Always be upfront.
If you sell a complex service then always be upfront about what you’re doing and what THEY need to do for the project to go full speed ahead. A successful project always goes both ways. It’s even a good idea to have an expectations agreement before you begin. Outline what you’re going to do and what you expect from them… and when. Then everyone’s on the same page. The same goes with phone convos, if there’s any changes, always summarise the call via email and what you’ve agreed to do. This is a big stress reducer I can tell you!
Now even when it comes to selling consumer goods, like fishing reels, then the upfront thing still applies. For example, if you’re out of stock, let them know their options, how long it’ll take to arrive, if there’s any extra costs and if there’s something else that might suit them if they’re in a hurry. Let them understand the whole process and you’ll keep ‘em satisfied.
Be responsive, be fast.
Always call them back as fast as you can, always on the same day if possible. And… If you ever get an inbound website enquiry, call them RIGHT AWAY! You’ll blow their little socks off!
Go the extra mile.
It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have, you can always add value to what you do. For example, give them lots of ideas on how to use that fishing reel, or if you’re an accountant you could give them tips on how to reduce their admin come tax time. Remember you might take this sort of information for granted, but your customer might think it’s such an amazing tip that they’ll share it with their friends. Seriously, inside your brain is the source of a lot more customer-happiness than you realise!
You like dealing with people you like, and so do they.
Just cos they’re buying off you doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the experience! So make ‘em feel you’re besties. But be careful they don’t expect mates-rates just because you do the whole rapport thing TOO well!
Keep in regular contact.
Depending on your industry and what you sell, why not call them a few weeks after they’ve bought from you to see how they’re going? Get in the habit of setting reminders in your calendar to check clients in 3, 6, 9 & 12 months. Rather than being a nuisance, they’ll love the fact that you checked in and you’ll probably get more work from it.
Never take the high n mighty road.
You know a lot more than they do about your industry, but never talk to them like they’re an idiot or use jargon they don’t understand. Remember they’re smart at what THEY do, so be real and be approachable. That’s how I’ve always done it with Web123. And it really works. Use plain English, all the time and you’ll be a breath of fresh air compared to everyone else.
Deliver the job/product… fast!
In today’s ‘I want it now’ society, the faster you are, the more impressed your client is going to be. Assuming you’re not cutting important corners of course! Quality still sells.
Care about their business and/or their goals.
If you see something in a magazine, or a blog, or newspaper that you think might interest them, cut it out and post it to them with a little note from you. Or even take a screen shot and email, or send them a link to read something online. Of course, try not to be weird and stalkerish, but I think you get my drift here. Even a fishing reel customer might welcome an email about the latest sighting report of the big fish they’d mentioned they wanted to catch!
In almost every case, they’ll love the fact that you truly care about them and what they’re doing. It’s so rare these days… but it only takes a moment of your time.
Give them value.
Do your absolute best to always give them heaps of value. It’s not always about selling the cheapest product. If you’re in a B2B industry, offering them value is easy to do by helping them to save money or to make more money. If you’re in an industry like hairdressing, then your value is in making the experience feel totally glam and pampered, make them feel so special they’ll be dying to come back. It’s worth more than dollars. Do that, stand out from all the rest and you’ll have a raving fan forever.
That’s the big key. Find a way to give awesome value and you’ll be struggling to keep up with all the referrals! You just watch!
Til next time ABN’ers! Bianca