“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs
If winning new clients is so hard and expensive, why is it that companies do not put enough focus on retaining existing clients ? In a survey by Oursocialtimes – 70% of companies said that it is cheaper to retain existing clients than it is to win new and 46% said that they made more profit from existing clients.
I work with many companies that want me to help them win more new clients, but very few that put as much effort into retaining existing clients. I think one of the challenges is that there is much written and taught about selling, but not so much about managing and nurturing existing relationships.
Below is a slightly different way to think about managing existing clients.
Many years ago Robbins Research in the United States, led by Anthony Robbins, found that as human beings our “needs” can be categorised into 6 headings – The 6 Human Needs.
These 6 human needs define how we react to situations, how we approach conversations, how we make our decisions and shape our lives. We don’t necessarily do this consciously, much of it is sub conscious.
Given our clients are human it makes sense that we apply these 6 human needs to how we build relationships with them and how we manage them.
The 6 Human needs in summary are:
1. The need for certainty
2. The need for uncertainty / surprise
3. The need for Significance
4. The need of belonging
5. The need of growing
6. The need of contributing something outside of yourself – Giving
So how could we apply these 6 Human Needs to our “human” clients.
Before we look at each one separately it is worth remembering that if you think about meeting your clients 6 human needs and take actions the client may not consciously realise why they like you so much, or why they feel loyal to you, their subconscious will be doing the work. Although if you did everything below to meet their needs you will be adding tonnes of value as well.
Do our clients have a need to feel certain that they are getting the best product, that the product or service will do what it promised, that the ongoing support is there if things go wrong etc ? Of course they do. They need to feel certain about all these elements, before they buy from you, but even more importantly, if you want to retain your clients they need to feel certain that you are continuing to deliver what they bought, and certain that you are part of their journey and development as a company.
What could you do with your existing clients to help give them certainty that you are the best company to continue to work with ? Do they know exactly what you do for them today and the value they bring to their business ? If not make sure you tell them and continue to deliver a great experience
Uncertainty / Surprise
As Human’s we like variety in our lives or we get bored. If you know exactly what is going to happen to you everyday you get comfortable / complacent / you don’t value it as much. Your clients are the same. If you continue to deliver the same service, no matter how great it is, they will get bored of it. So what could you do that would surprise your clients? How could you over deliver? What could you do to do something unexpected?
Clients hate to feel like they are just one of 100s that you look after. Even if they are, they want to feel like they are the most important client to you. They want to feel special. If you contact your clients once a year when the contract is up for renewal, do you think they feel special ? No of course not.
What could you do with each of your clients regularly to ensure they feel like they are the special one amongst the long list of clients you look after?
As humans we are pack animals, we like to feel as though we belong to a peer group, a community, a club. How could you help create a “club” for your clients? How could you make your clients feel like they are part of a “peer group” club? Could you set up regular events where they can meet their peers? Could you share information with them about their industry peer group?
What could you do to create this special feeling of belonging for your clients?
We have the need to be constantly learning and growing. What could you do that would help your clients grow ? How could you help build their knowledge of their industry or your industry ? What could you organise – seminars, webinars etc – where you could invite industry speakers, executives from your company ? What else could you do to help build the knowledge, confidence or career of your clients ?
This is an interesting area. Contributing to something bigger than yourself ! How does that apply in business? I have thought long and hard on this. There are simple examples like Toms Shoes where for every pair bought a pair is donated to children in Africa. Or companies that have a no profit policy and any profits go to good causes. This are simple but unusual examples.
It maybe that your client can contribute to their industry by sharing with them the success they have had with your service or product. Maybe they could be part of an industry think tank to help develop future thinking / technologies / strategies ? Is this a group you could create or lead or recommend your client.
I hope you have found this useful, what will you do differently as a result of reading this? Even a small action may make a difference.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.
Don't forget your clients are human too!
Have a great week……………………. Neil……………………….
Sales and Leadership Coach / Mentor, Keynote speaker, Trainer and Author