Whether you want to sell more to the clients you already have or create new ones, the quickest way to building a relationship is showing appreciation. When people feel like you go above and beyond, they will remember you – and they may even tell their friends. It’s about building loyalty and connection, not just email blasts and general communication.
It’s easy to show appreciation and it doesn’t even have to cut into your profits – in fact, you may be really surprised how this helps you win business and reach new clients. Start small if it seems overwhelming and try a couple of these on clients and see if it helps build the relationship and open up more opportunities.
Here are a few easy, inexpensive ways to show appreciation:
- Hand-written note. Even though snail mail may seem outdated, no one can resist a card or letter that is hand-written. It shows them you thought enough of them to take a few minutes to gather a paper and pen and think out what you wanted to write. This all takes time and let’s your clients know you think they are special since you might not be able to do this for everyone. Make it a goal to write at least one a week. Keep thank you cards, envelopes and stamps handy so you can do this spontaneously as you think of someone who needs a little appreciation.
- Post about them or their business on your social sites. If you work with other businesses, often a token of appreciation is sharing their story or good reviews on your social media. This costs you nothing and offers them a chance to get in front of a new audience which is always a great bonus for them.
- Host a customer appreciation event. This doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner or big event. This could be a coffee break meeting in the morning at your office – the important thing is that you offer some value. You can invite them to try your new product, to learn something valuable, to meet the founder or developers of a product to give feedback or learn something, or create a fun event with activities and games. It all depends on your audience and what they like.
- Send birthday cards. If you are in a business where you would have their birthdays, (or if in business, their business anniversary) send them a card to celebrate. A friend of mine swears she won’t change insurance companies because sometimes his birthday card is the only one she gets in the mail. That’s the loyalty these simple acts of appreciation can build.
- Congratulate them on successes. Follow your clients on all their social channels and you can even set up a Google Alert (https://www.google.com/alerts) in case they are mentioned on new websites or news stories. Then send them a personal email congratulating them on their success. (And you can also use this to stay updated in areas they may need more of your services.)
- Invite just a select few to beta test anything new you might have up your sleeve. Tell them because they know the brand so well, you’d love to offer this new product, service or offering for free. The bonus is that you then get your favorite people to be the first to offer reviews and testimonials and if they are your favorite clients, chances are they are going to give great marketing material for promoting it.
- Create a valuable informative space for only your VIP clients. Maybe this is a place where they can log in and ask questions, or maybe it’s just a private Facebook group, but the idea is that they get access to valuable information and/or resources that you don’t just offer to anyone.
- Pre-event invites. Create a group of people that get personal emails from you before you release registration for an event. Let them know you wanted to ensure they had the chance first to grab a seat before they are even available to purchase – and give them a reason you think it will help them specifically. This should be copy and paste text, people can feel that and it doesn’t feel authentic. Customize it somewhat to get the real appreciative feel to it.
- Give a book you’ve gotten value from to someone who may need it. Books are a great way to show appreciation and offering value (if it is related to your business relationship) – and often we have a ton of them sitting around. If you were impacted by something you read, someone else may need it now. Send it to them and say you thought they may get some value from it.
- Send a charitable donation in the name of your clients. Make sure the organization will let them know or send them a card to mark the donation in their honor.
- Offer them something a little extra once in a while. If you have the time or the resources, instead of spinning complex strategies for marketing, try reaching out and offering them something a little over the top right now. Would a free upgrade work? Maybe adding on a bonus to their order would give them an unexpected surprise or reaching out on the phone, even though the extra support wasn’t in the package, would keep them as a client for a longer period of time.
- Send cards. Many business owners are concerned about sending specific holiday cards because they want to embrace the many different religions and don’t want to offend. In light of this, many don’t send one at all. One idea to combat this is to send a card on an unexpected holiday – like International Customer Appreciation Day (April 18 by the way) or a day that is related to your business.
- Thank clients for their feedback specifically – especially the not so positive ones. The more challenging feedback is an opportunity to improve and connect with a client. If a problem that has been brought up by a client has been addressed, connect with them to let them know how they were able to help you improve. When they feel like they have impact on your offerings, they will feel connected to it as well.
- Send a small gift or gift certificate. Maybe you can’t just take your client for coffee because they are located in different locations. Send a gift card to give them a coffee break (and maybe get on Zoom and share a coffee that way). Small gifts always brighten a person’s day and will get them associating those good feelings with you and your business.
These are simple, low-investment ways you can try each day to show your clients how much you really appreciate their business and are top of your mind. They’ll feel important and you’ll build more trust and success. It’s a win-win!