As a baby boomer I am a strong advocate for relationship marketing. It not only enhances my speaking business but as a blog coach it let’s folks know I am serious about their blogging efforts.
I am also convinced that baby boomers have seen enough, erred enouth and smart enough to see the merits of relationship marketing and that personal touch.
I am sharing an article by a relationship marketing specialist which I found to be interesting. If you have articles you want me to share on this topic just let me know.
5 Steps You Can Take to Increase Your Client Referrals Now!
by Tim Feeley
Spending your money on advertising every month and not seeing results? Providing high quality professional services and no one is beating down your door? Coming to the realization that you are spending the same amount of time prospecting for new clients today that you did 5 years ago? Ouch!
Providing professional services is a people business. Your business grows by increasing services to existing clients and by building a mechanism that feeds your business a steady stream of quality prospects. Assume you provide the highest level of service possible (Accountant, lawyer, doctor, dentist, real estate agent, hair stylist, trainers, teachers, decorators, etc) to your clients. Studies have shown word of mouth marketing is the most effective form of advertising. When referred by an existing client, your new prospect already brings a level of trust to the new relationship. Other then hanging out together every Friday night with your client and sharing vacations with her family, how can you figuratively be at their side when a friend or family member brings up a need for your services?
Relationship marketing is the most effective tool for professional service people to grow their business. Giving free talks to local clubs, writing articles for local newspapers, setting up a desk or stand at local fairs, joining clubs and looking for opportunities to hand out business cards or creating a web presence in order to become a recognized expert are ways to market. You say you are not a public speaker? You say you don’t have time for these activities? You say you don’t feel comfortable introducing yourself to strangers? You feel darn right amazed at the fact that your 8 year old son or grand daughter knows more about the web than you do? Well, there is hope and there is something you can do immediately after reading this.
Implementing a relationship marketing program using greeting cards is an effective tool for growing your business today on your own terms, on your own budget and with very little of your time.
An insurance agent never paid for normal advertising. Whenever he signed up a new client, he always received their date of birth for their policies. Every week he or his secretary would send out a batch of birthday cards. No fancy advertising. He sent just a simple birthday greeting. Birthday cards became the foundation of his marketing plan.
A car salesman sent out a card to clients asking how things were going. He sent out a couple of cards to each client every year. If a client called with an issue he would make sure they were connected to the maintenance department. He would then follow-up with another card one week later to ensure the issue was answered to their satisfaction. Both his referrals and repeat business increased.
An accountant sent out 8 post cards a year. The mailings were timed to match the various tax submission dates the clients often forgot. Many of the clients were small businesses and the reminders were a terrific service and value.
Statistics show most sales happen after the 3rd – 11th contact. If after the first contact a prospect does not sign-up for your service, continue to build the relationship. Send a hello card every three months for 3 years. Things can change. Include a piece of helpful information and your value (future relationship) increases too.
Sending a thanks to a client for a referral, sending a card advising the client (Prospect) about an interesting web site, sending an anniversary card for 5 years of business are all terrific ways to build an “active” long-term relationship. Building a relationship and not “selling” a service will generate increased referrals. Again, and this is IMPORTANT, building a relationship and not “selling” a service will generate increased referrals.
Business referrals decrease substantially two years after a sale without additional client contact. How do you think your client would feel if you were to maintain contact every 3 months? No hard pressure sales letters. No buy now and save 25% discount flyers. Just, a quick hi and how are you card. It is a gentle reminder of your relationship with them and not a pitch for a sale. Implied in sending the card is the fact that you are available for your client and their friends when and “if” they need you.
There are many different ways to enhance this technique and are worth investigating. Techniques exist to increase not only referrals, but also client retention.
Remember ….”People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said… but they will always remember how you made them feel”. How do you feel when you receive a personal card in the mail?
Building a dependable and reliable stream of referrals using greeting cards is something you can do now. No excuses. And don’t forget to share your stories.
Tim Feeley is a relationship marketing consultant. He works with medium and small business owners in developing referral and retention programs to meet their individual business needs. He has worked in the finance and communication industries. He has an MBA and is a certified (PMP) Project Management Professional. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org for free consultations.Originally published on SearchWarp.com for Tim Feeley Sunday, September 07, 2008
Article Source: 5 Steps You Can Take to Increase Your Client Referrals Now!