I bet you have aspirations to grow your business. Of course you do. Well, you can bet that your clients have aspirations to grow their businesses too. Here’s how to make sure you’ll still be working with your clients when they’re bigger.
Value the clients you already have
It can sometimes be all too easy to get caught up in focusing on getting in more and more clients. That’s the key to growth, right? You need to have loads of clients and be constantly adding more. I would say no, not necessarily.
Business people will often quote how much it costs in time and effort and resources to secure a new client. It’s a metric we like. The price of new business.
What about the value of retained and developing business? To my mind that’s an oft-forgotten one that is at the core of this blog post. Your small clients today may well be your bigger clients tomorrow.
Think about that. You’ve already put in the time and effort to get them as a client. Now you need to hold on to them and do what you can to help them grow. As they grow, you then look to grow with them.
5 ways to grow with them
#1. Treat them like they’re already a big client
This may seem like common sense and if it does then congratulations, as you’re ahead of the curve. Too many people treat their clients differently depending on what they’re worth to them at the time. Don’t do that. They may well grow to be that big client you should have been treating them as.
#2. Talk to them
Talk to your clients. Don’t just talk to them when they contact you because they need something. Talk to them anyway. Be the company who takes an interest in what they’re doing beyond simply what they may want you to do for them. Perhaps they have an issue and you know just the company to help them out? Or maybe they’re experiencing something you experienced with your own business and you can offer some advice. You won’t know if you don’t talk to them.
Develop a rapport with your clients to the point that you can share your own business challenges with them. If you learn to value them as a source of advice or referral then you’re moving away from a standard client-supplier relationship. That will likely help you BOTH grow.
#4. Be a partner, not a supplier
I work in the events industry and in our industry this is a huge thing. One of the ways we set our business apart is by looking at ourselves as a client’s partner, not their supplier. That may seem a bit fluffy but it makes a practical difference. It’s a mindset and, while it may seem like a subtle difference, it’s a huge thing. Clients feel and value the difference.
#5. Be nice
I get some stick for this one but I stand by it. Being genuinely nice goes a long way. I’ve spoken about the value of being nice at various business and networking events and it’s amazing how many people don’t see niceness in their own industries. I describe the little things we do to be nice to people (not just clients) and am generally met with shocked faces. People just aren’t used to other people being nice to them. It’s sad but it’s also an opportunity for you to set your business apart from the rest.
A business that grows will recognise the things and people that helped them to grow. If they’re growing then they’ve hit on a winning formula, to some degree, and will likely want to stick with those that have helped them to. That’s just logic.
The 5 points above aren’t revolutionary by any means. They’re also not hard things to do so ask yourself this – why would you NOT be doing them when they’re easy to do and could actually help you grow your business? Exactly.
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