We’re talking about “The 3 Rs” of getting (and keeping) clients.
- Repeat projects
Yesterday, we talked about getting clients through referrals (https://kaidavis.com/getting-clients-referrals/). Today, we talk about getting clients through your relationships.
Your business is the sum of the networks of the people you know or have done business with.
If you’re an eCommerce consultant and you know 10 other eCommerce consultants, you have their entire networks to reach out to — if you’ve maintained your relationships.
If you’re a developer who has a list of 20 past clients that you’ve worked with — helping them, say, develop an app to replace something a person was doing or migrating a legacy system to new software — you have 20 people who can speak to your strengths as a consultant and who can be sources of new project opportunities, references, referrals, or recommendations.
But that’s if the relationship is maintained.
Do you get those letters from your college talking you up about how excellent it is to be a graduate of the school and would you please give them $100?
They hit my mailbox every 6 months with no warning.
Because my relationship with my university is, essentially, cold, their pitches to give them money don’t land that well.
They haven’t invested in the relationship. They haven’t invested in follow-up to build the relationship.
Have you ever bought a house? I haven’t, but all of my friends are starting to and I’m learning how persistent and wonderful good real estate agents are at follow-up to maintain relationships.
One pair of my friends bought a house in 2014 and every month since then the realtor has found some reason to follow-up and maintain the relationship: the anniversary of them buying the house, their wedding anniversary, their birthdays, various holidays and special occasions, and a special celebratory letter whenever a house in the neighborhood sold.
This real estate agent is incredible. Her client list is bonkers. When someone says to a friend “Hey, do you know a real estate agent?” this woman is always at top of mind and instantly referred.
Why? Because she invests in follow-up and maintaining the relationship.
So, your business is the sum of the networks of the people you know.
Your business is the sum of your relationships.
But only the relationships that you keep active. Only the relationships that you invest in keeping warm and alive.
Old, inactive relationships are no good. You need to spend time maintaining the relationship through follow-up for the best things to happen.
When you’re following up with persistently with your industry contacts, your past clients, your past leads, and your colleagues, you keep your relationships warm. You’re investing in building your relationships.
And these relationships are people you can approach for referrals and you can provide with referrals. They’re people who can send projects your way and whose way you can send projects. People who can serve as references and for whom you can reference. People who you can collaborate with on marketing opportunities.
When you invest in maintaining your relationships with the goal of seeing both parties grow and succeed, you strengthen your business.
Outreach to maintain your relationships doesn’t have to be hard. You need a list of people, a schedule, and to know what to say. In The Outreach Blueprint (http://outreachblueprint.com) you learn how to build your list of people (your prospect list), you get a schedule for sending your messages, and you get my personally tested messages and emails (so you know exactly what to say).
Most of us already do a bit of follow-up and maintaining of our relationships already, so all we need to do is get a little better at that skill: a little more consistent, a little more intentional, and a little more frequent.
Maybe you send an annual card or newsletter to past clients and contacts around Christmas and the Holidays. Maybe you don’t. Either way, that’s a prime opportunity to follow-up and put a reminder in place that you’re there, available to chat, and hope they’re doing well.
If you send your past clients or colleagues a card or letter, make it about them and how they’re doing. Encourage them to reach out to you if they want to chat. Don’t talk about yourself Use this follow-up as an opportunity to focus on them and invite them to contact you (or refer their friends) if they or someone they know needs help with a problem you solve.
From there, you can add new follow-up to maintain your relationships. At the end of every project, set a calendar reminder to send a follow-up email to the client 3-weeks after the project is completed. Just a short email saying:
“Hey, it was wonderful working together. We’d love to continue the relationship. If there is any additional help you need solving EXPENSIVE PROBLEM (or you just want to chat), then feel free to call us at PHONE NUMBER.
A friendly little reminder that you’re there to help.
And just start adding in more little reminders.
Make it standard to follow up with your past clients, your colleagues in the industry, and your past leads.
Check in with them. See how they’re doing.
It might not have been the right time back then to work together, but when you’re following-up consistently with your relationships you increase your luck surface area (http://loudjet.com/a/luck-surface-area/) and make it more likely for awesome things to happen: like introductions, new projects, referrals, relationships, etc.
Next? We talk about The Third R: keeping clients with repeat projects.