Love is love is love. The same things that you used to woo your spouse or partner with, work with clients too. Why? Because you’re showing them you appreciate them, care about them and are truly interested in developing a long-term relationship with them. I’ll try not to get too syrupy here, but I’m trying to make a point. Here are seven tactics that will make your clients fall in love with your business:
1. A rose by any other name wouldn’t smell as sweet. Nothing is as appealing to us as our own names. Learn their names (first and last). Say and spell their names properly. If you’re using a customer management system or digital database, make sure whoever enters the names checks and double checks to make sure they’re entered correctly. Put a note in or on their file with the phonetic spelling of their name. Have your employees sing it during a weekly sales meeting karaoke session if you have to, but get it right. Make sure your entire team knows the names of your customers and can pronounce them correctly, because there's nothing we hate more than hearing our name mangled.
2. If you love something, set it free... Corny right? But so true. Give customers insights on the best deals, even if it's not with you. Know your industry and your competitors well enough to know when what you offer doesn’t work as well as someone else’s product or service. This builds loyalty and trust because it tells them you’re actually looking out for them, not just the health of their wallet. Set them free to pursue a better deal-of-the-day and they will always come back to you.
Besides, if you don’t tell them, someone else will, then you’ll just look greedy and self-serving. Beat the competition to the punch. Put your customer’s best interests first, truly first. They’ll thank you with gratitude and referrals.
3. Surprise! Ever show up at home with flowers or a card for “no reason”? Yup. It works because unless they think you’re cheating on them, it screams, “Thinking of you!” when you’re not on the clock. And they'll know it. Give an unexpected gift at an unexpected time, for no particular reason other than you’re glad they’re a client. You are glad, aren’t you? Gifts (even small gifts), when unexpected and genuine, build loyal loving fans.
4. Get it done early or faster. Do more than expected and you win fans who keep coming back for more of the same. The key is to never over-promise. Set a realistic expectation, then blow it away.
5. Anticipate their needs. Fix things before they happen. As you get more and more clients, you can plan for problems your clients might experience before it happens. A contractor in New Jersey who specializes in kitchen renovation starts his projects by setting up a temporary kitchenette in the dining room of a client’s home. When the renovation gets underway, clients are thrilled to have a mini-kitchen they never thought they would need. This says “thoughtful and considerate,” in ways you can never imagine.
6. Show appreciation every chance you get. Display gratitude before, during and after. Never take anything for granted. This conveys to the client that they do matter. Studies show that the more someone appreciates us, the more likely they are to respect us and vice versa. The more respect, the tighter the bond and the longer the relationship. You do the math. The return on investment for showing appreciation is huge!
7. Celebrate. If you’ve ever forgotten an anniversary, you know nothing says “caring” like remembering and celebrating the memory. Invest in an anniversary cake and card. Show your customer how much you value them, by sending them a cake and card on the one-year anniversary.
See? It’s not that hard to keep your clients and customers happy, loyal and feeling appreciated. Call it karma or good business practice, customer service or just simple human decency, but what goes around comes around. If you follow these seven practices, your clients will keep coming around.
Mike Michalowicz is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting group that helps companies whose growth has plateaued to grow again. Michalowicz is the author of The Pumpkin Plan and The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, as well as one of the most popular entrepreneur blogs.