By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
On Sunday evening I was sending an email to all of the people who had once belonged to the Action Plan Marketing Club (now the Fast Track to More Clients) and inviting them to renew their membership, given the impending price increase.
This reminded me that one of the very best marketing strategies is to work at getting old clients back instead of always focusing on getting new clients.
After all, old clients have experienced working with you, and hopefully like you and trust you. When you contact them, you are not a stranger to them.
But I've also noticed that a lot of people resist contacting past clients, thinking, "If they wanted to use my services again, they'd contact me themselves."
Well this is a little like a guy dating a woman for awhile, having a great time and then not calling her anymore thinking, "I've done all the calling up to this point, let her call me."
As the service provider, it's your job to do the follow-up, not the client. Here are a number of ways to make the client renewal process work:
1. Do a great job with all your clients and make sure you have closure after a project. That is, have a conversation or do an evaluation to learn what worked and what didn't.
Recently a client of mine called back a old client reluctantly because she thought they weren't happy with her work. The truth is they were delighted with her work but like most clients, didn't take the step to call her back just because they got busy.
2. Don't call with this approach: "Hi, this is David W., just wanted to check in and see what was happening with your company and wanted to know if you have any projects coming up."
That just puts the client on the spot and it feels like begging. You are adding absolutely no value with this approach.
3. Try this instead: "Hi, this is David W., how are you? I've been thinking about you, because a recent conversation with an associate reminded me of the project we did last year. I was really happy with the results we got and wondered how things were going, and if you got the long-term results you were going for."
So start the conversation to discuss the past and then move toward the future:
"I've recently created a new program called "Accelerating Management Success" that I've been doing in a number of companies very successfully, and I thought you might like to know more about it."
Then take some time to talk about a) the problems or issues this program or service addresses and b) the kind of results this program produces. Don't talk much about the process or structure of the program.
4. Offer to send some more detailed information about the program and/or offer to offer a complimentary strategy session to discuss their current situation, goals and challenges and to talk a little more about the program or service.
If you had a successful relationship with this client in the past, you are much more likely to get an appointment with them than with someone you haven't even met yet.
5. To make all of this work, you need a solid foundation which includes the following elements:
a) A favorable past experience with that client
b) A program or service that is new to that client
c) Some written materials about that program or service
d) A structure for an in-person "Strategy Session"
e) A willingness to pick up the phone and make the connection
Like marketing any services, if you have a clear direction and a plan like this, you have a much greater chance of success than just waiting around for a past client to give you a call.
More Clients Bottom Line: Reach out and connect with past clients in an organized and persistent way. For every ten past clients that you connect with, you're likely to turn several of them into returning clients.
What do you do to renew past clients? Let us know on the More Clients Blog by clicking on the Comments link below.