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Servicing Clients is a Selling Opportunity

Tuesday, December 27, 2011   (0 Comments)
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By Jennifer Leake CMC

Statistics say it costs 5 to 10 times more to get a new client versus getting more work from current clients. I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t invest time in getting new business, but "mining” existing clients for additional work should definitely be on the top of your list. With current clients, you have an established relationship, knowledge of their business and a trust relationship. Getting more depends on how you develop the relationship, how well you know the client and their needs, demonstration of expertise and commitment, and how much they like working with you (i.e. trust and ease).

Consider each client individually for how well you know your contact, other contacts that could be valuable within the organization, and how well you know their current and 2012 needs. If you find you don’t know much at all about your current clients (other than your current project), you may be missing some low-hanging fruit - new business opportunities with them.

Here are some suggestions on how to gain more work from current clients:

  1. Stay in touch. Clients have two types of needs – anticipated and unanticipated. Sometimes you don’t see clients (especially former ones) as often as you’d like, so be first in line for unanticipated needs with a system that meets their desired frequency of contact. Would they prefer a phone call, and if so, how often? Should you use email or a postcard? Ask your clients – "I’d like to have a better understanding of your on-going needs and challenges. How would you like me to stay in touch, and how often should I call or email to stay up-to-date?” Face-to-face meetings are ideal, but this may not always be possible. Schedule "update” calls or meetings in your calendar for the year. These meetings are a time to listen and learn rather than advise and educate. What’s their pain and how can you help? - even if it’s a recommendation to someone other than yourself.

  1. Make sure clients are aware of ALL the services you provide. Even your most reliable client may not know all you offer. Showcase your expertise with articles, newsletters, seminars/webinars. Create a survey or questionnaire that addresses issues or challenges you can offer help with – and write a "special report” on your findings and schedule a debrief with the client. One consultant shared she sends a personal letter once a year to all clients that includes a list of all services, with the ones they’ve used checked off.

  1. Ask clients what they need. Get their feedback on new challenges they are facing and how you can position yourself in a proactive way to meet this need when it arises. Spend some time brainstorming with clients to uncover new things you can offer.

  1. Ask for referrals. If a client has trust in you and your abilities, ask them who they know (in their industry, in a related field, a peer within the company) that might benefit from your services. Most of us fail (or fear) asking for referrals and clients are often more than happy to do so. But don’t just get a name and number – ask for an introduction.

Attracting more clients is all about listening to their needs – not about being a solution looking for a problem. Pick more of this low-hanging fruit that is often overlooked.

Jennifer Leake CMC is Founder of Consultants Gold, an online community offering consultants ideas, resources, support and accountability to get more clients and bank more money. She’s the author of "Million Dollar Handshake: How to Introduce Yourself to a Million Dollars Worth of Business” and the twice weekly "Quick Action Tips for Consultants”. She can be reached at