You spend half your time worrying about losing your current clients to the competition and the other half frantically trying to find new ones. But what if you could approach client retention a little differently (and more sustainably!)?
This post delves into 10 different ways you can show your clients some love and stand out from competition.
1: Ask them lots of questions.
“If you want to set up a successful client relationship...you need to ask these questions.” – via InVision
It might seem counter-intuitive but asking your client difficult and provocative questions is a great way of showing that you care and have their best interests at heart. There’s nothing worse than a disinterested agency just doing the work for the paycheck!
Do be frank, but respectful.
Do surface topics they may not have considered before.
Do aim to provoke thought and a different perspectives.
Some questions you could ask:
- What do you think this project will improve with regards to your business?
- How does the work we’re doing align to your goals / values / mission?
- Where do you see your business in three years? In five years?
- If there were 3 things you could change about your business, what would it be?
Get more ideas in this article difficult questions to ask your client.
2: Tell them what they could be doing better
Trust me, you won’t find a lot of agencies willing to do this, of their own accord, simply because of the fear of losing or pissing off the client. But this kind of honesty goes a long way to establish trust. Besides you’d be doing them an enormous favour. But first, a few watch-outs:
- Don’t just drop the bombshell into their lap and disappear.
- Try to phrase your comments nicely and take the time to talk your clients through them. This will also reinforce the notion that you’ve actually invested time and effort to think your advice through.
- For any problem you raise, have a comprehensive solution ready!
- Make sure you can substantiate what you’ve said with research or industry experience. You can bet the client is going to challenge your advice, so it’s better to be ready!
3: Upskill them in something they’d love
Now this is truly an awesome (and selfless) gift. Self-education is something most people would like, but usually ends up low on the priority list as time scarcity and the onslaught of paying work takes over.
But the good news is that giving the gift of education is easier than ever these days! Whether it’s a short course or an individual class, depending on what your budget is (or what you think your client would like), make sure to check out the plethora of options available. For example:
Lots of highly respected universities around the world have open education courses too so it’s worth checking whether there is something that fits your client’s needs.
4: Give them a call
When was the last time you called up a customer or client without an agenda?
That’s right, we struggled to remember too.
But in the age of emails, online comms and personal assistants, a personal call can be a great way of reconnecting with your clients, catching them off-guard and giving them some warm fuzzies. Everyone loves to be genuinely remembered right?
WorkflowMax online project management software has a great Client Manager feature that helps you stay on top of your contacts. You can even make contact with clients directly from within the app, saving you time.
5: Invite them out to an event
No one said you couldn’t be friends with your clients right? While this option is a slightly more traditional gift for sure, never underestimate the power of tickets to an awesome event. Not sure what your client is into? If you’re using a powerful software like WorkflowMax, you can take advantage of the awesome custom fields feature and save additional, personalised information about your clients.
A few ideas to consider:
- Corporate box tickets to a sporting event (good for entertainment, networking).
- Entry to your local TEDx event (good for inspiration, education, networking).
- A pass to a creative conference like Semi-Permanent, 99U and/or the associated workshops (good for inspiration, creativity, networking).
6: Offer to do something pro-bono for them
Everyone loves getting free stuff right? Your client isn’t any different. Doing work for free is always a bit contentious and only works if you’re very clear on the parameters of the “something” that you’re offering up for free. A few tips:
- Treat the “freebie” like any other project, creating a detailed scope and timelines. That way if the client asks for more you’ll be able to back yourself – it wasn’t included in the original scope!
- Choose the project carefully – some jobs will be a lot more straightforward than others. The worst thing you can do is bite off more than you can chew! Always consider the time and costs associated with the job.
7: Donate on their behalf
Feeling particularly generous? Donating towards a cause that both you and client have in common can be a great way of bonding over a mutual interest. Plus it generates feel good vibes! Let your client pick a charitable organisation close to their heart and match their donation.
8: Give them the gift of humour
This one is my favourite, maybe because I love stand-up comedy, but also because we rarely have many opportunities to laugh these days. Want to shake off a particularly tricky project with your client? De-stress outside the office? Check out local stand-up comedy clubs in your area. In Auckland the Basement Theatre, Comedy Club and the annual Comedy festival are all great options.
9: Do some a class and indulge in “Sweat-working”
Bored of meeting over coffee, or dinner? Why not shake it up and take your client for a workout! As today.com states, more and more people are “connecting with clients over a walk, run or fitness class”. The post-workout buzz and endorphins will only do your business meeting favours.
- A 5K run. Whether it’s an event you sign both yourself and client upto or simply do your own route, this is a short and easily manageable distance. You could work upto a 10K or 12K as well.
- A Spin class. Even if you and your client don’t go to the same gym, a lot of places will let you bring a guest along.
- Some yoga therapy. You might not get much talking done here but you’ll feel super relaxed afterwards and probably be able to have a super chill catchup, free of stress afterwards!
10: Offer a great read
When I worked at creative agency one year we gave all our clients Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (okay, it was trending at the time). But gifting a book symbolises giving knowledge. And whether is a Kindle e-gift or a physical copy of a book that you can sign and get delivered, books are always a thoughtful present!
Not sure where to start? We’ve compiled a few handy booklists on the WorkflowMax blog:
- 25 Must-Read Books for Agency Executives
- 6 Books By Inspiring Women To Add To Your Booklist These Holidays
- On the Clock! 5 Awesome Time Management Books to Read
So there you have it – 10 ideas to re-invigorate your client relationships. We’d love to know what you tried and what worked for you.