Certainly your clients are people; they are individuals you connect to in many ways. Perhaps they are the point person of the organization that is actually who is paying you. You connect by having a personal relationship as well as a professional relationship. Part of your professional relationship is your hope that they see so much value in the service you provide that they give you a testimonial and they bring referrals to you and your business. Many professional service firms grow mainly by referrals from current clients.
So a client is also a business asset. It is an asset you can and should leverage to get other clients, to grow your firm, to accomplish your business’ vision.
How can you best leverage this asset? Here are some ways.
- Have your client give you a testimonial letter. Use this when you’re talking to a new prospect, attach it to an email, include in your brochure or prospect packet. Some people might have put this into a ‘Brag Book’ in the pre-digital world.
- Put the testimonials on your website. You can see an example testimonial page on my website by clicking here. Use this as an opportunity for your clients to showcase their own businesses. Case studies work well here.
- Run a cross endorsement campaign. Another professional who targets the same target market can introduce you to five of their clients in trade for you introducing five of your clients.
- Have your clients speak at one of your seminars or teleseminars. They can talk about your process and the quantifiable results. They don’t have to laud you to all the other attendees. The fact that they are there and willing to describe their experience speaks loud enough.
- Have a referral meeting. Set up a specific appointment to go over referrals that your client can introduce you to. Tell them about your ideal client so they know who to look out for. Go over your plan for each introduction. Will you be introduced over lunch or breakfast, at a networking event, by email or 3 way conference call? If your client just gives you a name and tells you to make contact, it’s not much of a referral. It’s always best to have this type of meeting when the client is feeling very good about the service you’ve provided.
- If you belong to some networking organizations that have regular referrals, invite your client to be your guest. Your client meets new contacts which might help him. When he says something that praises your work to the other participants, they become extra convinced of the value you can bring. They can then be even better at finding new prospects for you.
- Partner with your client to do something for the trade association that he belongs to in order to attract similar clients. Write an article together, give a seminar together. Let him put you in touch with the trade association conference organizer so you can be a speaker at the industry event. You both win.
- Does the client belong to any alumni, social, spots, country clubs or specialized groups that you can be invited to as his guest? Especially when he’ll introduce you to someone specific.
Leveraging your client assets is a smart way to grow your business. Clients are eager to help if you’ve provided great value and if you ask in a way that the client sees what’s in it for himself. Status (personal or professional), deepening the relationship with his contact, enhanced or new connections for his business, a better relationship with you are all rewards he might get from giving you a testimonial or referrals.
The eight ideas above are just a few ways to leverage your client assets. If you can add more, we’d all enjoy hearing your ideas and experiences.