How to Keep Clients for Life

Client Relationships Senior Couple Sitting On Sofa Using Digital Tablet

Threepio and R2. Sam and Frodo. ByTor and the Snowdog. Great duos, am I right? (Well, maybe the Rush reference was stretching it. But, did you see Alex on that guitar??).

Regardless, all of these naturally go together, just like client retention and client acquisition!

I was asked to write an article about client retention, and I feel the key to success with it starts before you even take on a new client; it starts with the acquisition process.

We’ve developed a system at Kildal Services LLC that has dropped our client turnover rate by 34 percent in the last 18 months, a process I’m teaching now at StacyKAcademy.com.

There are three main aspects:

Find your jam. In other words, find your niche. What is your target market? What is your ideal client? What types of services and projects do you LOVE to do, and what are the ones you’re good at, those you totally rock out? By marketing and choosing clients that fit specific criteria, you’re less likely to run into issues, which means you’ll keep them longer. You’re working with the types of clients you enjoy working with, and you’re providing services you excel at and genuinely like to do. #Winning!

Date them before making a commitment. You wouldn’t move in with someone after only just a couple of phone calls and a one date, would you? (Or, maybe you would. No judgment!) Then why would you take on a client this way? (I would venture to say that, in this case, the personal relationship would probably be more successful because it doesn’t involve the exchange of money for services. Or, maybe it does. Again, no judgment!)

We have a process that is so successful, we trademarked the name: QuickReview™. For a flat fee, we have a checklist we go through to review their existing QuickBooks® data, and then send them a summary of what is wrong, along with a quote for clean up. By the time we’re finished with both, we have a good sense of whether the client will be a good fit for us for the long haul.

Rate them. That’s right. Set up criteria on what you value in a client, and periodically score all of your clients. Establish a threshold of what is unacceptable and purge those that don’t make the cut. For those hovering on the brink, figure out what the problem is and work with the client – through clear communication – to make it right and keep them for the long haul.

I think these three things are the triumvirate that keeps not just our clients happy, but also, my team happy as well, holding it all together through communication. Continually communicating with your clients and your team, whether it is about expectations, possible scope creep, a mistake on your part or theirs, or even just a simple, “Thanks, great job,” will help ensure you and your clients stay in a healthy, mutually beneficial relationship.

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