Your referability is driven by the process you put your new clients through, and the service you provide throughout the relationship. Providing superior service – the kind that gets your clients taking about you – comes from a strong commitment to service. But the commitment is not enough. You commitment must be displayed through your actions.
Thank your clients often
Almost every rep I meet knows about the value of sending a thank-you note after making a sale or performing a service. Yet most reps are not in the habit of doing this. This gesture alone will help you to stand out in a crowded marketplace. How many thank-you notes did you send out last year? Send out twice as many this year.
Show your appreciation
You can show you appreciate your clients in many other ways besides thank-you notes.
Many reps like to keep a steady stream of ad specialties flowing to their client: mugs, pens, sticky-notes, and the like. I suggest you look for even more creative ways to use ad specialties as part of your appreciation mix. After all, something with your logo on it is not really a gift. It’s an ad for your business.
I know of one rep who sent inspirational poems mounted in walnut frames to his clients at Thanksgiving. As they count their blessings, their clients are among them. Client appreciation events are a great way to show your appreciation. Invite your clients to group dinners, sporting events, boat rides, and the like. Building this type of relationship with your clients shields them from the competition.
Create superior internal client service
You already know that you have external clients, but have you thought about who your internal clients are? They are your employees, your home office representatives and specialists, and others that help you in your efforts to help your clients. If they are not serving the clients directly, then they are serving someone who is serving the clients – usually you. These internal relationships usually work both ways. They are your clients because they deliver goods, services, or information to you so that you can better serve the external client. You are their client because you have to deliver information to them so that they can do their job most efficiently and effectively.
It is a lot easier to create loyal external clients if your internal clients are cared for and supported. Research shows that the way an organization’s internal clients are treated is ultimately the way the external client will be treated.