I recently had some rather disappointing experiences with some of the biggest names in the internet marketing and coaching arena. I had reached out to some of these “experts” to get a few specific questions answered before making a purchasing decision. Unfortunately, the service I received was less than impressive. Let’s just say that none of these individuals won me over as their client, not because I didn’t like what they had to offer, but because of the way I was treated as a prospect.
This in turn made me contemplate what it is that truly attracts or repels our potential customers and causes those we already won over to stay. The conclusion I arrived at is that everything worth knowing about winning and keeping your clients’ loyalty is contained in a single bible verse, Luke 6:13: “Do to others as you would have them do to you…” (NIV).
But how is it that we want to be treated as clients? Allow me to give you a glimpse into how I personally want to be treated before and after a purchase and I guarantee you it won’t be much different from your own expectations and what your clients would want to experience when they do business with you.
Here are my top 15 must-have ingredients for winning and keeping my (or anyone’s) client loyalty:
- Listen – (this is especially important if you are a coach or consultant) if you want to win and keep me me as a client, listen 80% of the time, talk 20% of the time. Make me feel like I have your full attention.
- Be my biggest fan – if you want to win my business, show me that you want to help me become a better person, live a better life, raise my ambition and help promote my progress. Don’t make this support conditional upon my purchasing your products/services first.
- Be genuine – I recently heard someone say “caring sells”. That may be true, but we need to realize that our prospects can intuitively tell whether someone is genuine or merely pretending to care so they can get the sale.
- Focus on YOUR expertise – don’t change your story to fit each customer. For example, if you are a time management expert, don’t try to sell me on optimizing my website performance. If I want my website optimized, I will hire someone who specializes in that exclusively.
- Don’t “sell & ditch” – don’t sell me one of your products and then forget I exist. Show some gratitude for having me as your client and follow up with me to see if there is anything else I might need. Ask me how I like your product and offer to address any issues I may need resolved. Note: don’t make the mistake of thinking this is your opportunity to upsell!
- I want to hear from YOU – don’t outsource your core message. Yes, I can tell if you wrote your blog articles or if they are someone else’s words. Guest bloggers are great, but in general I want to read what YOU have to say in your own words, not the content of your ghost writer.
- Follow through – do what you say you will do. I was recently offered a bonus for a purchase I made and lo and behold, the bonus never arrived despite several inquiries.
- Be responsive – don’t let days or even weeks go by before you respond to my inquiry. As a general rule, if I am ready to buy pending some last minute questions and you don’t respond within 24 hours, I will buy from someone else.
- Treat me like a unique individual – don’t send me your cookie cutter scripts, aka “name inserted via autoresponder” on every single email I get from you. I understand the need for process automation in business and there is a place for that, but to feel special as your client, I want to mainly correspond with a human, not your MailChimp.
- Don’t make assumptions – if in doubt, refer to number 1 if you want to find out what I really need. As your client I want to know that you can solve MY specific problem, not everyone else’s.
- Take it slow– get to know me if you want my business and don’t ask me to refer my friends to you the first time we meet. You wouldn’t take a first date home to your mother, would you? Oh, and don’t send me those lame auto-responses that market your product or freebie the FIRST time I connect with you on social media.
- Make it easy to invest – if I am to invest a significant amount of money with you, I want a guarantee that following your advice or using your product will lead to tangible results. If you miss the mark, offer me some type of concession until I am 100% satisfied as your client.
- Think boutique vs. Walmart – although your pricing has to fit within market range (and of course my budget) in order for me to buy from you, decisions are not made on price alone. In the end, quality and personalized service will always trump price when it comes to acquiring your ideal clients.
- Give sacrificially – offer me something above and beyond that will make me feel like you really care to win and retain my business. Show me that you care about more than just lining your pockets with my hard earned money.
- Don’t be selfish – if I help you promote your business via testimonials, liking your FB page, re-tweeting you or referring you to people in my network, show your gratitude and if possible, find a way to reciprocate.
Almost daily you engage in consumer transactions yourself, at your local coffee shop, the grocery store, the gas station and many other places you frequent. What is it that makes YOU feel cared for as a client/customer? Answer this question and you will discover your own secrets to attracting, converting and maintaining your ideal clients. You may also realize that for a kingdom entrepreneur, character is a far more important factor in successfully serving your current and future clients than is marketing skill.
I invite you to share your own stories in the comments below of how someone went out of their way to win or keep your business.