Clients are the foundation for building a business. To win their confidence and respect you have to go over and above what others do; you have to exceed their expectations. Case in point, I recently moved all my property and casualty insurance to another carrier. While interviewing the different carriers, the sales people called and e-mailed almost daily. I finally decided on one, not the least expensive, but one that a friend highly recommended. The transfer was made, I received a warm handshake and that is the last I heard from “my agent”. Needless to say, my expectations were far from being met. In six months I will again begin a new interview process to find a new agent and carrier. I find it hard to understand why someone who has a residual commission coming every time I renew, would not have any contact. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”. Not only is this agent going to lose my business but in my business, I am in a position to refer a lot of business.
Client retention begins at the time a sale is made. The following are a few suggestion that you can build on to help keep your existing clients and to obtain referrals.
- At the time of a sale, give a little something extra. During the “get acquainted process” your client may tell you about a hobby; perhaps a book on that topic is your gift. Tickets to a sporting event may be another choice. Give the gift at the time the sale is consummated.
- Remembering birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Thanksgiving and other important dates in your client’s life, both business and personal, is a process that can be systematized.
- Make a personal contact with your clients at least once a quarter. Update on new happenings in your business and your life. Invite them to a special meeting you will be attending. There are a lot of opportunities.
- Set up a meeting with your client and ask how you can help in growing his business.
These are a few suggestions upon which you have to build and add your own special “touches”. Building personal relationships with your clients should be a primary goal.
I encourage my clients to determine the following:
- The residual value of an existing client. ( ongoing purchases and referrals)
- The cost to obtain a new client. (Time and money)
- The cost to establish an “above and beyond” client retention program.
These figures will speak loudly in helping you determine your course of action.
Not the maker of plans and promises, but rather the one who offers faithful service in small matters. This is the person who is most likely to achieve what is good and lasting. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe