When you grow up in a small town, even in a regional centre like Wagga, there’s no secrets. There’s no anonymity like there is in a big city. No matter where you go you always meet people who worked with your Dad, or who went to school with you or your siblings… or they know someone who does. They know you’re the arty kid who hated math, some of them even know you used to sneak out to puff a few ciggies when you were 14! And as you get older you’re reminded, every day, that reputation matters and, quite frankly, shit sticks. It makes you pull your socks up, let me tell you!
It was a great education for running a business that relies on relationship building.
I’ve always gone out of my way to treat my clients like neighbours and friends and people who matter… because they do. Because they matter, I’m constantly thinking of new services to help clients solve their day to day business problems. At Web123 my only goal is to make web easy and profitable for them. If I discover a process that is creating angst amongst some clients, you can bet I find a way to improve it. I consider it a personal failure if I ever have an unhappy client, so I do whatever I can to avoid that at all costs. I am client-focused all the way. Are you?
And here’s another thing… because my clients matter my business is booming. I don’t have to worry as much about new client prospecting because I get a lot of referral business AND existing clients rarely leave me. To highlight how unusual this is, you might not know but the web industry is pretty churn and burn, so every year or two web clients will look for a new developer. We aren’t like that at all, we care about getting results, so most of our clients happily stay with us for years and years.
So putting clients first is good for them, and it’s good for me!
Of course, I’m not suggesting you become a paper bag blowing in the wind. I don’t do a 180 every time a client makes a suggestion that conflicts with my big picture goals. Sometimes I have to say no, but I usually follow it up with a suggestion of what I can do to meet their needs. There’s almost always a way to make it a win-win. Remember, if you’re doing the right thing by your clients and if you’re meeting their needs and if they enjoy working with you, they’ll stay with you, even if they’ve got your competitor knocking on their door. I’m surprised how many businesses don’t see it the same way as I do. Then again, it makes it a heck of a lot easier to impress new clients when the competition is so average! So, what can you do to make your clients unpoachable? I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.