“You want me to call up my previous clients, just to see how they’re doing?” my client Alicia recently asked me. She was astonished I would suggest something so forward and questioned whether it would come across as unprofessional.
“Don’t you care how they’re doing?” I asked her. Of course she did. “Why, then, would it be wrong to check up on them periodically?”
Alicia has been coaching for four years, helping young professionals with career transitions. She believed she needed to maintain a certain professional distance and felt that once her clients had benefited from her services, she no longer had a reason to communicate with them.
Nevertheless, Alicia agreed to call four of her clients before our next session and ask them about the value she had brought to their careers and lives. Afterward, Alicia couldn’t wait to tell me about her experience.
“First of all, they were grateful that I cared enough to follow up,” she said. “None of them thought my call was inappropriate. That got me comfortable enough to ask about the value they received from me. And that’s what I’m really excited about.”
Alicia learned that she’d given all her clients confidence, focus and someone to hold them accountable until they were on their feet again.
It reinforced her belief in what she was doing and got her excited about finding more clients.
“I said to each of them, ‘Don’t keep me a secret,’ as you had suggested,” she said. “And right there on the phone, one of them told me about a friend she was going to talk to who she thought could use my help.”
Here’s an overview of what Alicia learned from this experience:
1. Stay in touch with former clients whose experiences with you were positive. An email or phone call at the right time could actually mean a lot to them.
2. Ask them why they chose you and what value they received from working with you.
3. Don’t be afraid to mention that you’re open to introductions to other people who may need your help. Simple statements such as “Don’t keep me a secret,” or “I’m never too busy to help someone you care about,” can open the door to new clients.
Talk with current and past clients and ask how they’re doing. It’s the most professional thing you can do.
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Sandy Schussel is a speaker, business trainer and coach who helps sales teams develop systems to win clients. He is the author of The High Diving Board and Become a Client Magnet. For more information, go to www.sandyschussel.com.