Ways to Keep Customers Coming Back
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been preaching to my clients to focus on retaining customers rather than finding new ones.
Why? Because even in a pandemic, the statistics still prove true that it’s 5x more expensive to find a new client than to keep an existing one. The current clients are the ones to whom you’ve already moved through the “know like trust” process, one that can be weeks or even months long depending on the business model.
This advice is 100% something I practice myself too. The ways I focus on keeping my clients though is a practice that applies anytime and particularly during a pandemic.
Here’s how it works:
1. Make them feel heard.
While we all want to keep our schedules and our meetings on track, sometimes your client just needs to be heard. I have had more than one meeting not be as productive as I’d like because just a few minutes in I realized my client needed someone to listen more than they needed to stay on schedule. So I did, which leads me to Tip 2.
2. Be flexible.
Yes I want to keep their projects on track, but no one wants to be in business with a drill sergeant. They hired me as a consultant to teach them but also to listen to their needs and adapt as they do. Sometimes that means our calls go awry, the lessons don’t happen and/or we need a second one later in the week to cover what the first one missed. That’s fine. There is a difference between being flexible and being taken advantage of (i.e. projects that go WAY out of scope) and it’s up to me as the professional to clearly convey that line when needed.
I’ve also been more flexible with my payment plans. My rates have not changed, nor will they, but when needed I am breaking up the payments into smaller amounts to account for shifts in people’s income the past few months.
Another way I’ve tackled this is to break up our projects into smaller ones that allow for both progress in their business and allowance for economic uncertainty without having to compromise my rates and value I provide clients.
3. Continue to innovate.
This can be offering a new product, a new service or simply going more in-depth with an existing one. This way you can target your existing customers (again, the ones who already “know like trust” you), but offer them something new they can take advantage of.
Example: I reached out to my current and previous 1-1 clients and presented them with the group coaching classes I offer. Whether they had been a client six months ago with a 1-1 contract or currently, this gave them a new way to engage with my business while serving their needs of continual marketing & PR education and a group of likeminded business owners to network with and learn from.
PLUS, this is offered at a lower price point than 1-1 contracts (since my attention and focus is split across a group rather than focused on one company) so they could more easily add this into their marketing spend.