How to Find and Keep High-Value Clients
In the previous blog post How to Give Your Clients Six Star Customer Service I discussed that the key (or at least one of the keys) to differentiating yourself from the competition and winning more business, was to provide a much more valuable client experience. Specifically:
Value before the sale… during the sale… and after the sale.
In this short blog post I’m going to show how you can give more value before the sale. And as always this is best explained with a real example.
One of my client’s, a London based executive search company had several challenges, one of which was ensuring their clients’ use them – and consistently – as opposed to farming out their latest vacancy to a number of recruitment agencies, and then subsequently sitting back whilst the agencies all fought over finding the best candidate.
So how could this executive search company ensure they were top of their client’s preferred list of agencies, engender loyalty, as well as preferably attract more of these ideal clients?
Here’s where the concept of ‘value in advance of the sale’ works.
One of several strategies I suggested included providing their clients and their associates with the opportunity to attend series of expert training programmes – one of which was an ‘Advanced Interviewing Strategies and Skills’ workshop.
At face value this education – or ‘value in advance’ – would help managers and heads of HR to ask the right questions to explore, say, operational and cultural fit, better identify and draw out core competencies at an interview etc.
However, dig a little deeper and what is this strategy also doing?
Essentially helping to better position the executive search company as a trusted advisor – as the ‘go to’ company to help corporations find and place the best candidates…
… and also create greater loyalty and top of mind awareness through regular expert training, which just so happens to take place in their offices.
Now, you can ‘slice and dice’ this one example even further. For example:
* Build host/beneficiary relationships with industry experts inviting them to speak at regular executive briefings
* Disseminate the briefing or training materials as part of a hard copy company newsletter
* Make the seminars ‘evergreen’ by turning the training in to webinars that can be accessed through the company website
Platinum Referral Strategy
Here’s another example which I used with an accountancy firm. With regards to providing a more valuable client experience, this sits in both the ‘before the sale’ and ‘after the sale’ camp.
Specifically choose, say, three or four of your very best (and most profitable) clients and invite them out to dinner. They don’t pay, however, the price of entry is that each client must bring a long a guest.
This six-star customer service strategy has many benefits.
First, it’s a great opportunity for you to introduce your most valued clients to one another. It will provide an ideal opportunity for like-minded individuals to network in a relaxed and informal setting.
Second, as 50% of the attendees are non-clients, it provides you with the perfect opportunity (for the price of a meal) to spend time with very qualified prospects and potentially gain some valuable referrals.
Third, it speaks volumes about how you conduct business and treat your clients! How many people do you think your clients will tell about your generosity, professionalism and general good nature?
This platinum referral approach alone could pay dividends (and pay the dinner bill back) a hundred times over. In addition, I can assure you that in this kind of setting, you will also gleam some great feedback and information on how you can additionally help your clients grow their business.
This is just one simple idea – now imagine if you had three or four (together we also implemented another five) specific high-value client experiences working together?
See your business simply beyond a customer transaction.
Focus on serving the needs of the client better than anyone else in your industry. It will truly help to set your company head and shoulders above the competition, and further engineer distinction in your market.