“If you want your top clients to know how much you care about them, you’ve got to do something to let them know you value their business and want to see them succeed.” Mike Michalowicz, The Pumpkin Plan
A few weeks ago I published a post called “Let Your Bad Clients Go, Make More Money.” Letting your bad clients go is a key part of the Pumpkin Plan strategy, in order to make room for more and better clients. But, if you are going to let your bad clients go (I see you doing the happy dance), then the flip side is to make sure you keep your best clients and attract more just like them.
Identify your Top Clients
If you have not already identified who your Top Clients are, I recommend you stop and do it right now. Create a chart and list your clients in order of most to least revenue in the past year. Add columns for criteria such as “cringe factor” (how much do you like them?), if they pay on time, if they refer you to their friends (or write you great reviews), etc. Give them a letter grade for each key area, and then give them an overall grade. The 20% who get the best overall grade are the winners – they are your Top Clients!
Imagine your business filled with only your favorite clients!
Once you know who your Top Clients are, you can develop your strategy to make them so happy that they will never want to leave you, and they will help you bring in more clients like them. Your Top Clients are generally more profitable than other clients, and they tend to buy more from you than the rest of your clients. Focusing on your Top Clients is key to your profitable growth.
Since your Top Clients tend to be extremely happy with what you do for them, you are happy to interact with them. Work become more pleasant and more fun, as you get to work and hang out with your favorite customers day in and day out.
Follow these steps to solidify your Top Client base:
1) Play favorites!
Create a policy around how you are going to treat your best clients. O.K., I know what you’re thinking. You are thinking that you should treat all of your clients like VIP’s. Yes, that’s what you’ve been taught. And yes, you should treat all of your clients well. But your Top Clients should get above and beyond treatment.
Sadly, its usually the worst clients who get all of your attention (a.k.a. the squeaky wheel syndrome), and your awesome clients get neglected because they don’t complain and they don’t demand extra attention. I challenge you to think about how you can turn that around, and make sure that your best clients are getting the attention and service they deserve, even if they’re not asking for it. You will be rewarded for this by their extreme loyalty.
2) Wow them!
When I was running my jewelry company years ago, one of my suppliers would throw in a few pieces of candy along with my order. It always put a smile on my face to find those pieces of candy among the jewelry supplies. A spice company that I frequently order from always throws in a sample of one of their spice blends with every order. Again, making me feel like I got a little something extra and fun.
How can you overdeliver on your promises to your best clients? Can you fast-track their requests? Can you give them a little something extra? Can you throw in an extra service that most other companies would charge extra for, and that you normally charge extra for? Can you personalize what would normally be an impersonal transaction? What can you do to put a smile on their faces, and make them say “Wow!”
3) Introduce new products and services created specifically for them
According to the 80/20 rule, if you are selling a product for $100.00, 20% of your customers would be willing to purchase another, higher value product from you, at 4 times the original purchase. In this case, that would be $400.00. Pretty cool, right?
Well, it gets even better. 20% of those customers who just spent $400.00 with you would be willing to purchase another, higher value product at 4 times the secondary purchase, or in this case, $1,600. And it goes on and on from there.
This is significant because if you know who your Top Clients are (a.k.a. your Top 20%), you can talk to them, get to know them, study what they want and need, and create higher level products and services that you know will appeal to them. Ask them what they want, what features they would pay more for, how you can serve them better, and then give it to them!
Become the “Go To” in your industry
Here’s an example. Let’s say you own a bicycle shop. You do the client assessment, and you determine that your Top Clients are mountain bikers. You would take that information, and not only stock up on Mountain Bikes, but you would research what mountain bikers specifically need. You could start carrying hard to find accessories and offer special mountain biking packages. You could start a mountain biking VIP club with bonuses that you know will appeal to your best clients. You could send out a newsletter featuring stories and photos of your customers on their mountain biking adventures. You give them expert advice about mountain biking.
You would come up with these ideas based on what you learn about your top clients. What happens next is that you become THE place for mountain bikers to shop. Your current customers don’t just purchase more from you, but they tell their biking buddies all about you, your reputation in that community grows, and your business grows with it.
The key here is that you don’t have to stop selling other types of bikes and accessories. By treating the mountain biking community like VIPs, this is where you will excel and experience organic growth.
Here at Provendus Group our top clients, who are business coaches and consultants, told us that they want to be able to do something that is unusual in this industry. They want to scale and grow coaching businesses, as opposed to individual coaching practices. As a result, we have devoted ourselves to developing tools, resources and support programs that enable them to do just that, while consistently getting great business results for their clients.
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