During tough and uncertain times, maintaining your client relationships are critical to the lifeblood of your business. Not only will your clients potentially provide short term revenues to help keep your business going but they will also be sources of new revenues through additional purchases, contract renewals and referrals.
But in such turbulent and unprecedented conditions, what can SMEs do to not only maintain but also strengthen their client and customer relationships?
Recently Dorie Clark and Andrew Sobel, two leading experts in client relationships and marketing strategy hosted a LinkedIn Live Q&A.
From their discussion, here are my 3 key takeaways as to what SMEs must do to both maintain and strengthen those highly valued client relationships to both survive and thrive in these challenging times.
“Be at the crossroads of the marketplace”
- Share your observations about what you are seeing in the marketplace/your industry
- Share your expertise
- Ask POWER QUESTIONS:
- Thoughtful, open-ended questions that engage your clients on their most important issues. For instance, how are they thinking about their business-3, 6 and 12 months from now
- Also, incorporate “credibility building questions” whereby you state an observation about their market and then ask a question to understand how they might address or interpret that market observation
Help, but don’t harass your clients during this time
- Make a list of what your clients are currently dealing with
- Make a list of the ideas that you have, that you see in the market, what others are doing
- Use these client needs as well as market observations to develop suggestions, recommendations and insights that you can send to your clients in your newsletters, blogs as well as post on social media.
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Incite new prospects to come to you
- Dorie Clark states that your ability to gain new clients will be a function of 3 factors
- Your network
- Social Proof
- Content Creation
- Showcase your expertise by providing education to your clients and prospects
- Propose ideas that match their agenda and key concerns!
- Be recognized in your markets—Be present where prospects go for ideas and solutions!!
- Build your network before you need it!
- Expand your connections. Get to know people. It’s your biggest asset in B2B!
- Leverage your connections to gain warm introductions and access to Decision Makers
- When lacking warm introductions, use LinkedIn to outreach to new prospects
- Comment on their blogs, posts
- Suggest resources, provide insights and intelligence then REACH OUT!!
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About Michael Haynes
B2B Customer Acquisition & Growth Strategy Consultant
For over 20 years, Michael has worked with micro-businesses to large corporates alike across Australia and Canada, developing and implementing business growth strategies and programs.