It’s Make a Referral Monday and every Monday I write a blog post on Referral Marketing. And today’s topic is about appreciating your existing client base. Current and past clients are likely to be the source of many referrals to come, and even more, if we give them the preferential treatment they deserve.
In the new world of marketing, it’s all about relationship nurturing and development, and that should continue far beyond a prospect simply becoming a client. When I think about the many ways businesses out there today treat their existing client base, I question if anyone understands the value of the existing client. If we did, why do we still see businesses offer preferential pricing to new clients—those that are ready to jump ship for a short term price incentive? We see this all the time with phone, cable, and internet providers. They frequently offer an extremely attractive price upfront to switch. And then after you’ve been there for 12 months, the price goes up and up. This is on my mind because I just got rewarded for being with my provider for 2 years with a price increase.
There’s 2 things wrong with the way we are treating our existing clients. The first thing is that we’re often advertising that we treat new clients better than our bread and butter clients. Why are you offering better pricing to prospects than you are to those that have been loyal to you, paid you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars, and are still your clients? Why don’t we reward our existing client base with discounts and preferential treatment rather than those who haven’t even heard of us yet?
The second thing wrong with this is that it costs more than twice as much to get a new client than it does to keep an existing client. We should be rewarding our existing clients for their loyalty.
Here are 5 simple ways to reward your top clients:
- Acknowledge long-time clients for their patronage and feature them in your newsletter, website and other marketing materials.
- Be everywhere that they are. Be connected to them on social networking sites, on their blogs, commenting and engaging your clients in their business. Lend your hand to help make them successful.
- Host a client appreciation event where your best clients have an opportunity to interact with your prospects and other vendors you value and work with. Ensure that your best clients come away from that event feeling special and understanding how much you value their business.
- When they make a referral that does business with you, offer them a discount on a future service. Then they’re even more likely to refer again and again.
- Put your Referral Mindset on. Think about who you can refer to them or who you can introduce them to that might benefit from learning more about their business.
Think about how you treat your best clients. Step back and make sure your incentive program is rewarding your best clients.