Grow Your Business by Focusing on Existing Clients
There's an old saying that states "It's easier, and cheaper, to keep an existing client than it is to find a new one". Now although this may not always be the case due to the potential diminished returns derived from long-term clients, it is mostly true. And for those involved in generating new business at ad agencies, or anywhere else for that matter, we understand how difficult it can be to win the trust and confidence of prospects. The process takes time and occasionally requires a significant investment of resources when courting larger clients – presentations, concepts, plans, budgets, etc.
At The BLU Group – Advertising and Marketing we have been very fortunate to have a fair amount of long-term clients. These clients serve as our foundation from which everything else is built upon. They provide the income necessary to keep everything running – payroll, overhead, investments in technology, etc. – and they are our best resource for new business, both from them and the people they know. The most important thing that we have learned over the past 9 years is that these clients are our most important clients. Don't get me wrong, we appreciate every client we have and provide the same great service that has become one of our pillars, but we can never become so busy as to not treat our core clients as our number one priority. We will turn down new work if it could possibly lead to existing clients not getting the service they deserve.
The categorizing of clients is nothing new. We have all probably heard of companies labeling clients as A, B, or C based on their current sales activity or potential sales activity. Whether you do this or not at your company is up to you, but understanding which clients are your most valuable is imperative to your future success and the success of your company. Plus, once you understand which clients are your best and most profitable you can model them and use it to find similar clients. The key to sustainable, residual income though will always rest in providing excellent service time after time.
For individual business owners (a lot of one person companies) the onus is on you to deliver excellence through every contact to ensure you keep and grow the clients you currently have. But for those that rely on others to deliver excellence it can be a bit more tricky. It requires finding people that truly understand and believe what your brand is all about in regards to service and deliverables AND have the talent and dedication to deliver it time and time and time again. Most clients will give you a pass or two on the occasional mistake, late follow-up, or general snafu, but don't expect them to hang around if you or your team starts dropping the ball on a continuous basis.
Successful sales people and business owners understand that the sale doesn't end when the contract is signed or the check is cashed. It continues every single day through every interaction you or your team has with the client. Treat each contact as a sales opportunity and a chance to reaffirm their decision to partner with your company. Complacency and neglect are two things that are sure to prove as relationship killers, both professionally and personally. Good luck!