I know a thing or two about marketing and sales, despite how entertainment media may portray marketing professionals, especially females. My career is a bit more complex than an event planner screaming at subordinates, as E!’s “The Spin Crowd” and the character Shauna Roberts from “Entourage” love to do. It’s scripted for television and the more tension the more it sells.
In the real world, I approach marketing in a holistic way, with attention to detail. My clients expect it as do I. In fact, I consider it my duty to ensure I constantly provide them with big picture marketing insight and action while never forgetting about the details that matter.
Speaking of details, below are a handful of tactics business owners/executives can easily use to enhance their current client relationships while staying sensitive to our current economic budget crunch. And, as we all know, it takes less energy and money to keep and grow a client than it does to find new ones.
Thank your clients for their business – Mail a simple letter to your clients to thank them for their continued business at least once per year. Meanwhile, make certain you periodically thank them via email if you correspond regularly. For instance, write your email as you normally would and simply add: “Thank you for your business.” It’s easy. It’s simple. It makes an impact on your clients. Every time I send letters to clients, they make it a point to tell me how nice it was to receive it and that they’re happy with my services.
Introduce your clients to your contacts – If you’re in the professional services sector, this can be especially helpful to you. One great big happy family is the idea on this one. Clients appreciate feeling valuable, want to meet other people who are valuable and will see you (and your ability to serve as the “go to” connection guy/gal) in an entirely new light. Clients can seek the services you offer elsewhere, but they cannot replace the relationships you help them build with others.
Deliver your clients a treat – A fruit bouquet, a dozen doughnuts, two movie tickets …all are affordable options that will help remind your clients that you are thinking about them and appreciate their business. (I’ve even gifted boxes of Cheez-Its crackers, cupcakes to flower adorned children’s hair clips to clients – whom I consider more as friends over the years.) It doesn’t matter the price tag associated with the gift. Instead, think of it like a typical dating ritual… it’s the thought that counts.
Instead of an expensive client gala, organize small meet-and-greets – Don’t get me wrong. High-end galas have their place with some folks in the B2B industry, but for most, small meet-and-greets can accomplish just as much with less money and time. I have a small group I organize every other month and a 20-person private wine making group I’m a part of that meets six times per year as well. Six months ago my “A-team” coffee group were all strangers, now we invite one another to birthday parties, holiday BBQs and more. Did I mention they all do business together now too?
Share a cause with your clients – Invite your clients to participate in a walk-a-thon or another cause you believe in. I have a coworker that shaves his head every year to raise money in the name of childhood cancer research. (Clients LOVE it.) People naturally want to help and want to be involved – so long as it does not cut into their family and “down” time. Involving them in this way allows them to see a personal side of you, your business and gives them an easy way to participate and build a relationship with you.
*Blog originally appeared at: The Biz-E Gal: Life as a Marketing Pro & Parent
Amber Stidham is the director of strategic planning at Imagine Marketing.
Contact Amber at email@example.com