Landing a new client is always great news. But once the celebrating is over, it’s time to get serious. The way you begin a new client relationship can have a big impact on how long you keep that customer.

Here are 10 ways to start off on the right foot with a new client:

  1. Welcome your new client with a gift. Thank the client for choosing you with an edible treat, such as candy or cookies, or a business-related premium featuring your logo.
  2. Have your company’s president extend a personal welcome. Ask your president to reach out to new clients with a call, letter or hand-written note of appreciation that will make them feel special.
  3. Create a new-client orientation process. Set up a protocol for introducing a new client to your company. Schedule an in-person meeting at your office to introduce your team.
  4. Add the client to your ongoing customer outreach program. New clients should begin receiving any ongoing communications from your firm and be entered into your customer relationship management system.
  5. Don’t bombard the client with sales pitches. Resist the temptation to try to sell a new customer more and more products or services at every turn. Give him time to get to know you and trust you.
  6. Connect via social media. Follow your client and his company on social media and invite him to follow you. His blog and communications with followers may help you understand his business and find new ways to help him succeed.
  7. Invite new clients to join your advisory board. A customer advisory board can give you insights into market trends, client needs and potential sales opportunities. If you have a board, invite new clients to rotate in and share their experience and views.
  8. Be sure her first order is delivered flawlessly. You may never be under closer scrutiny by your client than the first time you deliver a product or service. Use the opportunity to demonstrate that you are the right vendor for the job.
  9. Monitor his data. Periodically review the client’s transaction history so you can spot shifts in ordering patterns that could signal a change in his business or cause for concern. If something goes wrong, you need to know about it ASAP.
  10. Check in. Three to six months into a new client relationship is usually a good time to meet with a new client about her needs and your performance. If she’s pleased, use the opportunity to suggest expanding your relationship. If she’s unhappy, fix what’s wrong and reassure her of your commitment to her satisfaction.

The best way to keep a client. No matter how well you start a relationship, it won’t last if you don’t continue to deliver outstanding service and results on an ongoing basis.

Consistent excellence is the smartest marketing strategy of all.

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Jean M. Gianfagna is a marketing strategy expert and the founder and president of Gianfagna Strategic Marketing which provides marketing strategy and creative services to leading business-to-business and consumer marketers. Read her blog for more marketing tips at http://www.gianfagnamarketing.com/blog.