TIP No 1
Understand and act on the 80/20 rule.
20% of your clients will bring in 80% of your business – so make sure you spend the appropriate time building relationships with your best clients – rather than spending too much time with clients who bring you nothing but grief!
TIP No 2
Look for every opportunity to stay in touch with your clients.
While the project is ongoing it’s easier, but don’t forget to keep working at it. When the project is over – that’s the difficult time. How do you keep in touch without being a nuisance?
Send them information: a newspaper/magazine article you think will interest them, a card on their birthday/promotion, request advice, refer possible job candidate, thank them for a referral, invite them to seminar, thank them for information, offer free consultation, offer lead on job search, provide information on potential customer, request name of supplier.
TIP No 3
Devise a ‘Relationship Building’ plan
For your major clients – the 20% who bring in 80% of your business – make a 6/12 month plan to stay in touch. Sit down with your colleagues and brainstorm ideas.
- Month 1: Win account – Visit client’s offices for further fact finding
- Month 2: Ask client to visit your offices to meet team and present on their business: issues and challenges
- Month 3: Networking event – cheese and wine, skittles?
- Month 4: Performance review
Circulate the plan to colleagues so that everybody knows what is going to happen during the 6/12 months.
TIP No 4
Host a seminar
Make a presentation at your offices/hotel on a subject of current interest/concern to your industry. Invite all your clients. Include a light buffet so that you can network. Make sure all your colleagues know how to ‘work the room’ and don’t squander the company’s investment of time, energy and money by talking amongst themselves!
TIP No 5
Invite your clients to present to you and your team about what they do, what they’re looking for, what problems they face etc
TIP No 6
Assign a Client Champion
Ask a colleague to be responsible for the client’s business. Get them to learn everything about it – don’t let yourselves be accused of not understanding the client’s business fears and concerns. Then ask them to present their knowledge to your in-house team so that everybody is brought up to speed.
TIP No 7
Work up the chain of command
Build relationships with people further down the chair of command – as they progress up the ladder they will take you with them.
TIP No 8
Use a questionnaire/survey
At the end of the project ask for their feedback. This will tell you how well you’ve done and give you pointers for the future. Identify every piece of feedback as an opportunity. It’s the most efficient and least costly way of getting information and understanding of your customer’s expectations about your products and services. Act on the feedback.
TIP No 9
Ask for a Referral
If you’ve done a good job the client will be delighted to sing your praises and will be pleased to ask to do something for you in return. So don’t be embarrassed to ask. Research suggests that only 42% of sales people have the courage to ask for a referral. Don’t waste a fantastic opportunity.
TIP No 10
Take the client and your team out to celebrate a job well done.