It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air! If you’re a PPC agency owner, you’re probably aware you should show your client relationships some love. Sometimes we get so caught up in the thrill of the chase, the lead generation and our rising ROIs, that we forget businesses are built on the strength of relationships.
These relationships don’t end at the close of a sale. Client relationships are like precious plants; you can’t take them on and leave them in the cupboard and think they’re going to get on by themselves. You’ve got to really look after and nurture them.
So, this Valentine’s day, I’m going to give you 5 top tips on how to cultivate your client relationships and watch them bloom.
🌹 1. Relationships are everything (not just on Valentine’s Day!)
Strong relationships are at the core of success. This is useful advice for all walks of life, but particularly in business.
Think about it. The average PPC agency owner spends 50% of his or her time worrying about losing the clients they’ve got to a “better offer”, and the other 50% trying to chase more clients to boost their profits.
What a lot of agency owners don’t realise, is that spending time (and a bit of money!) forging genuine connections with their existing clients is a lot more healthy and sustainable than chasing after the new.
Building iron-clad relationships with clients takes commitment, energy and a touch of creativity. However, effort though it may be, the results are always worth it.
Having great client relationships can lead to beautiful things like:
😍 More business
😍 Positive engagement via word-of-mouth, social media comments and testimonials
😍Increased job satisfaction
It also means that the client won’t bugger off to find someone that makes them feel really special.
A great way to keep on top of a client relationship is to remember the little details about them. Next time you’re on the phone, jot down some notes that could be useful conversation starters for later.
Does one client have a daughter? Ask after her.
Has another had a minor operation? Send them a card and ask how they’re recovering.
When it comes to the personal touch, a little can go a long way. If it doesn’t lead to love on Valentine’s Day, it at least sets the foundation for mutual respect.
🌹 2. Go and visit them
… But let them know first.
Nurturing clients is like maintaining a long distance relationship. Frequent calls and even more frequent emails can keep the clock ticking nicely, but nothing beats some face-to-face contact. Ultimately, your client wants to feel like they’re doing business with a person, not a faceless machine.
The UK’s such a small island, I have no problem taking regular flights to Manchester or Glasgow. At most, travel time takes a couple of hours, and I can prep my visit on the plane or train.
And don’t forget to prep! Do some proper research, and your client will see that you’ve invested time and energy into making the relationship a serious one. The more you understand the way a client operates, the better suited you are to meeting their needs.
Start hitting the targets they want, and it won’t be long until you’ve got a trusting relationship with success flourishing on both sides.
🌹 3. Buy them a bottle of wine
Have you ever been given an unexpected gift from a partner? I bet it felt quite nice, didn’t it?
The same goes for your clients. Whenever you close a significant sale, buy a nice bottle of red and send it over.
Some business owners advise against buying gifts for clients as they think it “smacks of desperation”. Essentially, I couldn’t disagree more.
A nice gift (it doesn’t have to be imaginative!) is the ultimate gesture of goodwill. It also plants you and your business firmly in your clients’ heads. Remember, the business a good client brings you could stretch to hundreds of thousands of pounds. Well worth a quick $50 out of the wallet this Valentine’s Day.
🌹 4. Show them the love and buy them a meal
“The way to a client’s heart is through their stomach.”
When you visit a client, it’s best not to assume that they’ll pay for everything. In fact, whipping out your wallet is a sign of confidence, generosity and respect.
But, if you’ve been working the way you should and this isn’t some sort of “apology dinner”, you’ll find the client is usually more than willing to pay for you.
It goes without saying that the shared experience can create a great bond between the two of you and strengthen the foundation for a long-lasting relationship.
When wining and dining your client, keep a couple of things in mind:
😍 If you’re on your home turf, make sure you have an established relationship with the restaurant manager. That can lead to better service, more recommendations and a table away from the kitchen or loo. That said…
😍 If you’re picking a restaurant on your client’s turf, do more than a quick Google search. If the worst does happen, don’t over-apologise. Squawking “sorry” a dozen times won’t take back salmonella and an irritable client.
😍Pre-pay the bill. Whipping out your card could make your client feel like they have to make a contribution, though you said you’d pay. Give the server your card beforehand, and pay before the client arrives or after they leave.
😍 Don’t dive straight into the sales talk. Start with some small talk and ask them about the things you’ve jotted down in your notes (see item 1). Building an emotional connection is likely to lead to healthy compromises when you start to talk business.
😍 Follow up the next day. Double check that the client hasn’t thought of any more questions overnight, and thank them for their time. Little courtesies create good feelings all round.
🌹 5. Call them for feedback this Valentine’s Day
You’re good at your job, and you know it. Even so, calling your client for feedback is a great way to get even better.
Not every client is the same, and the more you tailor your service to the individual, the better your results. Directly asking for feedback will inspire honesty in your client, whereas they may have stayed silent before.
Quickly implementing improvements will show a client that you consider them a serious prospect. It’ll also stop your client from drifting away and looking for someone willing to match their needs. Trust and transparent communication will boost your brand, and that’s what will garner you a stronger bottom line – not just your skills.
💘 Conclusion 💘
“If tomorrow is judgement day
And I’m standing on the front line
And the Lord asks me what
I did with my love
I will say I lavished it on my clients,”
Whitney Houston/Dan Wardrope
This Valentine’s Day (and every day), remember that all relationships take some work. If you haven’t heard from a client in a while, pick up the phone. Arrange a visit. Just because a client hasn’t complained about your service, it also doesn’t mean they’re actually happy.
Whether the client is brand-new or you’ve been working with them for several years, review the relationship and throw in some much-needed spice. Your client will love the extra effort!