The following post is from Lisa of Working Naked:
My friend’s grandma used to say, “Don’t do special for me.” She didn’t want anyone to make a fuss over her because she knew her family cared and didn’t need anyone to prove it to her.
What about your clients? Do they know you care? Meeting your clients’ needs, completing their projects on time, and helping their business grow is part of your commitment to your clients. It’s also one way to show your clients indirectly that you truly take an interest in them. Consider these five easy, inexpensive, yet more direct ways to show your clients that you care.
#1 Congratulate your clients on milestone events.
When a client is celebrating a birthday, anniversary or a promotion, you can send an e-card, but a card you send via snail mail can mean even more. Don’t just sign the card…include a short, personal note. Although you’ll want to acknowledge happy occasions, don’t forget the sad ones. One of my clients recently lost her husband to cancer; so, I sent her a card and made a donation to the charity included in her husband’s obituary. It was a small gesture, but I wanted her to know that I was thinking of her during a difficult time for her and her family.
#2 Keep in touch with your clients on a regular basis.
You don’t need to meet with your clients in person, or talk with them via Skype or over the phone every week. Instead, be creative. Think of ways to let your clients know you’re available to meet their needs. You could send your clients a monthly newsletter (after you ask if you can add them to your email list) or forward articles from online magazines or newspapers that relate to your clients. Keep it low key, and at all costs, avoid being pushy. The goal is to be a resource for your clients, but to do so without being annoying.
#3 Send business anniversary cards to celebrate the date you and your client started working together.
I know this seems corny and sentimental, and isn’t appropriate for all clients, but the right clients will appreciate a card or a brief e-mail from you. Keep in mind how unusual that gesture is. In fact, it’s so unusual they’ll probably remember it for a long time. Look for the date in your calendar or in your files. If you’re looking for a way to stand out from your competitors, acknowledging your anniversary date is a good place to start.
#4 Use your detective skills to discover your clients’ hobbies and interests.
Some of your clients may be avid golfers, experts at playing Angry Birds or dedicated movie buffs. After you complete a big project, send your client a thank you gift that appeals to him or her. Or you could make a donation to your client’s favorite charity. Make sure his or her company doesn’t have a policy against accepting gifts. You don’t want your client to misunderstand the meaning behind your gesture or get fired because they accepted a gift from you.
#5 Include your clients in non-business activities.
Most of your client interactions may be strictly business and limited to short meetings. The next time you’re invited to a business event or have extra tickets to a sporting event, consider inviting a client to go with you. I’ve invited clients to breakfast meetings and to hear guest speakers at different events. While you’re out with your client, do your best to avoid talking about business. You’re there to connect, not sell.
Undoubtedly your clients know that you have their best interests at heart. You can assume they know you care about them and that you want them to succeed, or you can take steps to make sure they know how much you care.
Is there something special or memorable you’ve done for a client?
|Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of WorkingNaked.com and the author of five books about working from home, including Organize Your Home Office For Success. Lisa works with entrepreneurs and home-based employees through seminars and individual consultations, to create functional home offices that meet each individual’s working style.