The Client Relationship Experience
A story in perseverance.
My story. My words. My heart.
I’ve never put it into words or shared this part of my story. I believe everyone is unique. Everyone has a “thing” that is just waiting to burst out and be shared. Their awesome sauce, their “known for,” their passion. Whatever you call it, it’s you personified, and we’re here for it! WHERE ARE YOU?
Twenty + years ago, I had NO SALES EXPERIENCE! NONE!
I worked for a Fortune 200 company in various roles that made me well-known, and visible, within the company. For the sake of example and brevity, I’m focusing on only one role at this time.
They said I’d be amazing “in the field.” I’d done a field ride with a rep and apparently was very present in the calls. An offer was made, I packed up, relocated, and off I went. To the worst territory in the nation.
I completed the six weeks of home-based education and product training, two-week training class (with a roommate), on the other side of the country. Video taped role-plays with tears. 15-hour days. Over and over again. Ugh!
It paid off! At the end of my first year as a rep, I’d had THE highest $$ sales the company had seen to date. Which, naturally, paid out the highest bonus the company had ever given out. Yay, me.
But wait, there’s more. I was nominated for Rookie of the Year this same year. Moments before we were to sit down for the awards banquet, my manager pulled me off to the side and told me, “You didn’t win. We, (six district managers, a VP and a company president), didn’t feel it was fair to give it to you because you DIDN’T HAVE SALES EXPERIENCE.”
It was at THAT moment I knew I needed to replicate my success again and again.
You see, I’d inexplicably created MY OWN brand of selling skills, or strategies, if you will, that got me in doors that no one else had been; conversations were had with people, that no one ever spoken with before. I’d developed a routing system which was effective and clearly amazing. I’d been attending clients personal events, office events, and even had offices awaiting my arrival so they could take me to lunch. There was just “something” that was special, I admit it. I became memorable.
I hadn’t even realized that clients KNEW MY SCHEDULE, down to the time I’d arrive! I became aware of this when I stopped in the local market after work one day. A nurse at one of the clinics yelled out for me and said they missed me today and they were hoping I was okay. They…missed…me?
This was the start of when I knew I’d become my own brand within a larger, fortune 200 company. However, I was today years old, as they say, when I realized that I’d actually created Carrie+Co way back then. I repeated my success year after year for 13 years with that company and again for 16 years at another Fortune 500 company.
I share all this to say, these weren’t systems. These were strategies. My strategies. There were soooo many more, curated by me for each client; written down and reviewed the night before I was to visit them.
…and THAT is what made me unique. I had a gift for seeing something different in everyone. I cared about these people. What they needed, wanted, were missing out on, and they in turn actually cared about me.
Retaining existing clients is essential, and less costly than gathering new ones. In order to have a thriving business, repeat business is ESSENTIAL. Your current client base, regardless how small, is how you grow your business.
If you’re a service-based business, following up with your clients after a sale or service has been completed, is a must. A thank you phone call, quick text, or email to find out if he or she is pleased with your product or service will prove that your business always keeps the client in mind.
I know a lot of you don’t like social media for one reason or another. I’m not a big fan of it myself, but, I try. I honestly do try. I did recently hear someone I trust, say, post things that YOU like and are passionate about and tie it into your awesomeness.
Newsletters are a great tool to keep your clients informed of what you are doing for them. They don’t have to be frequent; monthly, or even quarterly, works just fine. The point is to let your clients know what you’ve done and are doing; keep them intrigued. What steps have you taken to go above and beyond in client experience? You can even include some of these suggestions in your scheduling software.
Handwritten notes are a nice personal touch to let them know you were thinking about them. Send a birthday or anniversary card. Everyone likes to be remembered on their special day. Don’t you? I know, I do? Maybe let them know you just got XYZ retail item in the store or that their name popped into your mind and you wanted to reach out.
Keeping them in the loop of knowing they are still valued will go a long way in possibly enticing them to schedule or purchase from you again soon. Bumped into an old client at the local market, send a handwritten note to tell them how nice it was to see them.
If you are reading an article or see something you remember a client wanted or was looking for, drop them a line to let them you what you found and where. This little touch shows you were listening during their visit and cared enough to listen.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER. OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
As you can see, staying in contact with your existing clients isn’t that hard at all. The ideas I mention are just a few ways you can stay connected, but with a little imagination, you will find even more ways to maintain your lasting relationship with them.
This is where Carrie+Co. comes in; designing client experience strategy and consulting for salon, barbering and spa pros. Our customized business-building workshops and strategic plans, are developed to give you results that curate referrals and loyalty. Use this form If you would like to schedule a time to speak with Carrie on how she can increase your bottom-line by redefining your visibility and up-leveling the value-added Client Experience you provide.
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