By Michael Gunther
Most businesses are always striving to grow by looking for new clients, marketplaces and products/services to increase their bottom line. They invest time, resources and energy towards expanding their client base while often ignoring their existing client base as a means to grow their business. You may argue that you stay connected with your clients through newsletters, social media, events, etc. but that is more of a passive public relations process than an actual growth strategy.
Over the last twelve months I realized that it’s been a while since I truly connected with many of our past clients to learn how their businesses were performing. This realization encouraged me to start a Relationship-Centered Campaign to reconnect with current and past clients to learn about their business status and to gain their perspective on our services. This endeavor required me to schedule meetings with three to four clients a week throughout the year, which was difficult to accomplish given my already busy schedule.
After the first few months, I began to comprehend how important it is for business owners to reconnect with their clients. What I was learning was invaluable. I discovered that there were some of our services that were clearly more valuable than others. Certain tools and strategies had a lasting impact on these leaders and businesses, while others weren’t even mentioned. I absorbed the fact that we have created a group of loyal brand ambassadors: these individuals were willing to support us in our growth, refer us business and rehire us.
The results from this Relationship Centered Campaign continue to roll in. Our leads have doubled over these last 12 months with nearly 90% coming from referrals. Internally, we narrowed our service offerings and fine-tuned our delivery model to match the feedback we heard. We are updating our brand messaging to more clearly align with the successes and value we heard that we provided to our clients.
Mind you, we always strive to maintain strong relationships with our clients, but meeting with clients who we did business with over ten years ago was enlightening and truly empowering for my team and me. I have begun to assess how well our clients are connecting with their current and past clients. One of our clients discovered that 20% of their clients were migrating to one of their competitors. Another client realized that their client base had felt the company had lost touch with them and their needs. The list can go on and on.
Are you trying to expand your business? When was the last time you put your energy into your current and past clients to try and grow your business? You may be surprised what you learn about your business, and you may obtain your growth goals from clients who already know and trust you. A much easier sale.