Most service-based business owners dread the day when they realize their contracted time with a client comes to its end. If you’ve not been paying attention, that is. And sadly, so many fall into this vicious cycle of working with clients – ending engagements, then going out to find more clients. This is the WRONG way to build a solid, thriving and holistically successful business.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re not creating a systematic approach to attracting and retaining your clients, you’ll likely find yourself in the same situation as Mark did.
Check out his question:
“Hi Darnyelle. I have several clients that I am working with that we are coming to the end of our client agreement. What can I do to retain these clients so that I don’t have to go out and look for more?”
To watch my answer to Mark’s question, watch this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV
Like I told Mark at the onset of the episode, (this was my bonus tip, did you catch it? :-)) don’t find yourself in this quandary by making sure that you are always marketing. Always be looking for your next client. Even if you don’t have the capacity to serve them now, actively marketing your business will create a rather nice low-hanging fruit list for you. Once you start your list, create an approach to stay top of mind with them so that when you have space to accommodate their needs, you’re positioned to get them as a client.
At the end of the day, building clients for life is a skill. One that if you’re not careful to practice, you won’t master. Here are my tips to help you get closer to building clients for life:
1. Solve one problem at a time. If you try to do too much with a client, you’ll likely not offer them a complete solution. So instead of trying to do it all, work together to identify the most important problem to tackle first. Doing so will help them to get complete resolution in that one area and it will help you to get an amazing success story for the problem you solved. Use that very first session to create the action plan and ensure that you tell them the role you will play in each step of their action plan.
2. Seed next steps consistently. At least once per month when engaging with your client, seed that when you’re finished working on X, your next step will be to work on Y together. If you do this consistently, you’ll be planting the seed that they need to continue working with you to get the next phase of the solution they are seeking. Then, as they notice that they are experiencing the breakthrough they’ve been seeking, they will come to expect that you’ll continue to the next phase together.
3. Schedule a separate next engagement conversation. As you near the conclusion of your current engagement, schedule a separate conversation with your client to discuss the next set of work you’re going to do together. My recommendation is that you assume that it’s happening. This level of confidence along with the plan of what you’ll be doing together next is sure to keep your client engaged in working with you.
So that’s my two cents; what’s yours? I want to hear from you. What strategies have you tried to build clients for life? How do you currently handle coming to the end of an engagement with a client? How do you discuss working together again? Leave a comment below to share how you have managed to turn this challenge into a business-building triumph. I know that many in the community will benefit from what you share.
©2013 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Speaker, Business Coach and Marketing Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises.com, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program for more clients, more income and more leverage in your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Entrepreneurs Must Avoid When Unleashing Your Incredible Factor So You Attract More Clients, Make More Money and Gain More Leverage” just fill out the form below.