Think about how the airlines treat you a little bit special if you fly with them all the time. It’s good for business, right?
So how do you show your best customers that you’d like to move them into the client bucket? How can you show them that they deserve a little special treatment?
Not that all the rest of your customers, the ones that aren’t in your client basket, should be treated like crap. It just means we move that up a notch. When they’re better customers, they move to clients.
So identify your top-tier clients. Identify them by profitability, or frequency of purchase, or after-sales service required, revenue, whatever it might be. And do some things to spend a little bit more time with them. Support some advisory councils, offer some incentive programs. Show some additional incentives, love trips or dinners or events.
Don’t worry about dropping prices for these people. If they buy more it tends to mean they’re getting more value from you. Keep the margins where they are. Don’t drop price, add value instead.
Have some value-add training events. Go in and work with their staff, their people. Spend a few additional days with no strings attached. Have a client appreciation dinner. Give them a feeling of importance. That feeling of importance breeds a feeling of loyalty. The best way to get loyalty is to give it.
We’re looking to move people from customer to client so that our relationship with them is stronger, based on the value that we provide. And it really is about the way that they look at us in the end. But it starts with two things. It starts with the way that we look at ourselves and the moves we make.
And the second thing is the way that we look at every interaction with the customer. Every interaction with the customer is an opportunity to move their trust deeper, to make the relationship larger. Every interaction is a way to move the way that they think about us and thus our company.
So, ask yourself these questions:
• What do I bring to the table for all of my customers that my competition cannot or will not?
• What is my special sauce?
• What do I want my customers thinking and possibly even talking about when my name comes up?
• How do I choose my customers to define our relationship?
You need to have more of your customers in that client bucket. The more customers that you’ve moved into the client bucket, the less risk there is in your career. The more solid foundation there is to build that career into what it is that you might be looking for, whether that’s financial or you’re basing success on something else.
With customers you have to spend a lot more time for a little return. With clients you add solid value and earn a lifetime return.
Photo: MoToMo, via Creative Commons 2.0