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Heather Townsend

The Excedia Group

Director

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Keep top-of-mind with clients

brain

Keeping yourself in the mind of your clients is good for business overall and can help further personal career ambitions. Heather Townsend explains how to stand out from the crowd and keep clients and customers happy.


To keep yourself top-of-mind with clients, you need to regularly go beyond the scope of the client engagement, be proactive and position yourself as a source of information and counsel– an invaluable expert to be called upon and sought after by both existing and new customers.

Keeping clients happy is about much more than the specific service or area of expertise you might offer. In today's competitive marketplace giving that little bit extra is imperative to client satisfaction. Training, as with nearly all professional services, has become significantly more crowded. Often it is hard to differentiate between providers simply based on the service they offer, particularly if you're delivering pre-agreed courses, already set out by an external certification body.

Clients are not stupid, and with the internet making access to your competitors readily available, the fact that they might compare and approach the competition should be constantly in mind. To retain and grow by referral from your existing client base, you now need to deliver more than just the basics of good client service.
 
"Keeping clients happy is about much more than the specific service or area of expertise you might offer. In today's competitive marketplace giving that little bit extra is imperative to client satisfaction."

Monitor

Put in place account management systems or processes to ensure you deliver a great job, every time for every client. This could include ways of getting client feedback, both during and after a job has been finished, and end of project reviews. The size and sophistication of your organisation will determine how many of these things are provided as 'standard' and how many have to be built into your own ways of working.
 

Communicate

Keep in touch; don't be annoying but regular communications with clients, whether they're currently using your services or not, will ensure you're not forgotten.
Non-intrusive ways to keep in touch could include:
  • Sending articles which they will find interesting
  • Interacting on social networking sites
  • Inviting them to join you at events, such as conferences or seminars
  • Arranging regular catch-up conversations or meetings
  • Sending them (with permission) company newsletters

Don't leave communication opportunities to chance, you will improve client relations and potential business opportunities by maintaining a good level of contact with clients.

Brand 'you'

Gaining visibility in front of your clients and internally, within your place of work, has a lot to do with your own personal brand. This will allow you to be put forward for the right projects and ultimately requested by clients looking for your area of expertise. Quite simply, if people don't know you exist – i.e. you have a low personal profile – then you won't be first in the queue for any of the opportunities available to develop yourself.
"Gaining visibility in front of your clients and internally, within your place of work, has a lot to do with your own personal brand. This will allow you to be put forward for the right projects and ultimately requested by clients looking for your area of expertise."


Part of this process is developing your own niche. In the case of training or professional services firms in general, this could be focusing on a certain specialism, or dealing with a specific type of client. It's tempting to be a jack-of-all-trades, particularly in the early days of a career, but this will win you no favours with clients (and colleagues) looking for the expert in a given field.

Visibility is key and with the internet making this easier than ever before there's no excuse not to raise your profile:

  • Write a blog, for yourself and/or your firm
  • Contribute to your firm's e-newsletter
  • Present at conferences
  • Submit articles to your firm's website or even trade publications
  • Record podcasts and video clips of your training programmes or seminars
  • Use social media channels, such as Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Make yourself available for questions, via Skype or a related forum
  • Attend networking and industry-related events where clients are likely to be
All of these channels present opportunities to get in front of your client, even if some are only in a virtual fashion. If clients keep seeing your name attached to useful information regarding the services they require, or bumping into you in places they perceive to be important to their world, there's no danger of them forgetting who you are or what you can offer.

And finally, if you can, add value beyond the service you're being paid for. For example, look out for new business opportunities for your clients. For example, a training provider, similar to an accountancy practice, may work with a range of organisations which may present introduction and referral opportunities.

Keeping top-of-mind with clients is good for business and if you have designs on career progression, such as making partner within your firm, having a healthy client portfolio is an essential element. With 80% of the new work won sourced from existing relationships - with clients, people in your firm, or introducers - how you build and maintain these relationships is vital.

 


Heather Townsend helps professionals become the 'go-to' expert. She is the co-author of 'How to make partner and still have a life', and the author of the award-winning and best-selling book on networking, 'The FT Guide To Business Networking'. Heather blogs regularly at Partnership Potential, 'How to make partner and still have a life' and 'Joined Up Networking'.

 

Author Profile Picture
Heather Townsend

Director

Read more from Heather Townsend
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