You want your clients, certainly the better ones, to stay with you. By implication therefore you want them to appreciate that you care about them, that you are interested in them and that you want to help them as much as you can.
Those are just some of the reasons for Keeping In Touch (KIT) with clients. You want them to feel loyal and to let you know if something’s not right or they aren’t happy with your service.
And, of course you want them to seek your advice and to let you know what’s happening in their lives so that you can identify that they need advice. The more you speak to your clients, the more you’ll understand their business. These regular conversations will allow you to make intelligent interventions and seize appropriate opportunities when they come up.
It is often said that it is MUCH more expensive to generate additional business from strangers than from clients. (There doesn’t seem to be any agreement as to the relative costs. Depending upon context and sector, you can find online references to it costing anything from 4 to 20 times more to get business from new clients than from current ones).
Whatever the truth of this, you can often save time, money and effort if you focus first on helping your current clients before you invest in campaigns to secure more new clients.
By the way, you will also find that too many people writing on this subject confuse broadcast marketing with KIT programmes. It’s fine to send out generic messages to all and sundry (or even just to all your clients). Blogging can be a good way to build awareness and understanding of your services. The same goes for posting on Linkedin and on social media. But do not think for one moment that any of this constitutes Keeping In Touch with clients. It’s simply a form of one-way marketing communication that may, at best, remind clients you are there and what you could do for them if THEY ask you. But even that presupposes that your clients will see those messages. Often this is simply wishful thinking.
You may HOPE that clients who see this will be prompted to contact you if they are inspired by something in your broadcast message. But that is very different to you evidencing interest in them specifically and personally.
So what can we do to Keep In Touch with clients? Here are 12 basic options:
1. Email to start a conversation. This will work best if your name appears as the sender and your subject line engages your client and encourages them to respond. Do not reply on email for the full conversation. At some point you will need to speak to each other.
2. Phone call. Picking up the phone and calling clients is easy once you overcome any fear you have of personal contact. It also proves you are genuine and not simply sending out a mass email.
3. Use Zoom, MS Teams, Skype (or other VoiP). Video calls are even better as you can see each other too. face to face communication is invariably superior to written or phone as it is much easier to see the other person’s reactions and interest level.
4. Via LinkedIn comments and reactions. If you have clients who are active on Linkedin you can react or comment and use their posts and articles as a prompt to get in touch.
5. Direct message exchanges on Linkedin. Messages sent within the Linkedin site may standout more than those sent by email. Equally, they may be ignored if the recipient is unfamiliar with their Linkedin inbox.
6. Via social media and discussion boards. This is easiest if you are active on the same social network(s) and online discussion boards as your clients. How do you know where they are active? Maybe you could ask them next time you Keep In Touch? Doing this online is easier if you are already familiar with the platform or discussion board. Direct personal messages here may get more attention than longer emails. They are also more likely to be seen than those sent as quick update emails that will be quickly superseded by more recent messages.
7. At networking events. If you have clients who are regular attendees you can catch-up with them here. Do not always rely on there being enough time for a decent discussion with a client at a networking event. Be prepared to fix follow up 1-2-1 conversations too.
8. Over coffee (other daytime drinks are acceptable). This would normally be at or near to your client’s base of operations.
9. Over a drink (after the working day). Again, close to where your client is based.
10. Over a business breakfast (normally before the working day).
11. Over brunch or lunch (during the working day). If you instigate the meeting then it’s best you offer to pay for the meal too. And please do not attempt to recharge this back to the client unless you discuss doing so and they are genuinely happy for you to do so, perhaps due to the valuable advice and insights you shared! Important for building relationships with influencers and business associates. Also invaluable for building your knowledge of a client’s issues and plans so that you can tailor your advice and services accordingly.
12. By post. Snail-mail still has it’s place as well crafted letters and cards can stand out from the mass of emails that everyone receives. And you need to follow up to get maximum benefit from the message you have sent by post – otherwise your effort to KIT will be seen simply as yet another broadcast message.
There is one more reason to make more effort to Keep In Touch with your clients beyond your routine interactions around recurring compliance based services. Think about those new clients you hope to win through your generic marketing efforts. What will make them even consider moving from their current accountant? All too often they only do this when they are not happy.
When was the last time you won a new client from an accountant who was regularly in touch with them? It’s probably quite rare. So if you successfully Keep In Touch with your clients you are almost certainly helping ensure that they remain loyal to you too.
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