When you close a deal, do you say goodbye to your clients – and mean it? Or, do you become their trusted advisor for life? It’s easy to move along to active clients who need your time and attention right now. After all, they’re the ones paying next month’s bills, with any luck. However, maintaining solid relationships with past clients is the best way to keep your pipeline filled with referral business and is at least as important to your bottom line as any farming activities or marketing campaign you do.
One of the best ways to stay connected with your client base is to hold a client appreciation event of some sort. It doesn’t have to be a big networking cocktail party – though it could be – but it should be something that you think would be appealing to the biggest share of your base. Are many of your clients adventurous types or new to the area? Host an urban scavenger hunt so they can both get to know the area and try something new. (Just type “Dallas scavenger hunt” in your browser and you’ll find a bunch of companies that run these events.) Does your client base prefer to stay closer to home? How about hosting a volunteer day in your community and ask your clients to come out and help? Whether it’s beautifying a park, painting a community center, lending a hand at the food pantry, or some other great cause, there’s always someone who could use a hand. Find out what causes your clients like to support and see how you can lend a hand.
Maintain a good database of referrals for trusted contractors of all types and let your clients know that you have it. Post notices about upcoming local community events, new restaurants, cultural events and other opportunities on your social media and in your e-newsletters. Be a go-to resource and stay top of mind. If someone calls you with a question and you have no idea what the answer could be, tell them you’ll find out and follow up later. Keep their interest in maintaining your relationship and make it fun and useful.
Touch base from time to time just to ask about what’s going on in their lives. Don’t wait for them to call you. Make it a goal to call everyone in your database at least once per quarter, or more often if they send you lots of referrals. Personal touches matter. Handwritten notes just to offer a compliment are a nice touch.
Leverage technology. Add reminders to your calendar when you have conversations with clients, or see posts about important events coming up in your clients’ lives. Use them as a conversation starter. Watch their socials for signs of milestones so you can send congratulatory notes. Remember that with milestones often comes the need to transition to a new home.