February 3, 2006
Staying in touch with clients
~ written by Tim W. Hrastar, Tim W. Hrastar Associates Rapport Marketing
Variety and frequency are key elements to staying in touch with clients. If you are out of sight, then you are out of mind for the client. It's amazing how much additional billing you can pick up in a year just by keeping in touch with clients. It also has the advantage of them perceiving you as caring for them by keeping in contact.
First, you need to check and see what your client's preferences are on how they want to communicate and how often, either while working on a matter or in-between projects.
The following ways are quite obvious, but getting in the habit of using these various means has to come first if it's to work. Use all of them at different times to keep things interesting.
If you use a program such as Microsoft Outlook it's easy to keep track of when to call your client to check and see what is happening. This is especially important when you are not currently working on a matter with them. Make sure you talk to them, depending on the client and circumstances, at least once a quarter. You may even have clients that you talk to once a week and once a month. Just let them know you are thinking about them, and are available for whatever they may need.
Email makes it easy and convenient to drop clients a note now and then with the same idea of using the phone. Some clients may prefer email to telephone, or visa versa.
This is almost a lost art because of email and time, but receiving a handwritten note occasionally goes a long way in setting yourself apart from everyone else. Be sure to use good quality note cards. They can either be museum type cards or custom printed. They are perfect after completing a matter and thanking the client for their business. Always let the client know how much you appreciate their business.
Sending article reprints/books
Sending article reprints is a great way to continually educate your client on what you do, and also provide them with information pertinent to their business and personal interests. A business book or a book of special interest for a client is also effective in letting them know you care about them and are looking out for their interest.
After the matter has been completed
About a week or two after you have completed a matter with a client call them to ask how everything is. Are they satisfied with how everything was handled? Ask them what else you could have done to make the situation even better; ask how well you listened. You may at this time give them a referral if appropriate and ask for one yourself. You can also see if there is anything else that you may look into for them.