1. Know Your Client Intimately
Intimately means deeply enough to have more meaningful conversations! Our company is based on the premise that people do business with people they know and trust. “Relationships are built on trust and respect – cemented with shared experiences.” Valerie and Company Philosophy
When building client loyalty, you must get and stay engaged with your client. Be sincerely interested in his business, know what’s important to him, learn what drives him and what he enjoys outside of work.That’s not prying – that’s caring. In his bestselling book, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, Harvey Mackay gave a list of things to know about your customer. He said that if you know these things, you would better understand how to build trust relationships. Check it out.
2. Be a Linchpin
This idea comes from the book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. One of the main ideas that resonated is to be – for my clients – that person who either has answers or knows where to get the answers. That has made a huge difference in building client loyalty. I enjoy sharing knowledge that would be helpful, ideas they would appreciate, or checking to see HOW I can be a linchpin. It’s about taking the time to give – without the expectation you’ll always receive. Paying it forward works!
As Godin writes, “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”
3. Deliver What You Promise – and Then Some
There is a recurring cry today yelling for accountability!
“Valerie, if I could just get my team to be more accountable,” or “Valerie, can you help me coach someone on doing what they say without my having to check to see if it has been done?” Even in our families our kids may drop the ball – unintentionally.
So, what’s the answer?
First, make sure people know clearly what you are holding them accountable for. What does success look like? How will they know when they have delivered on your expectation?
Second, what are the consequences if someone does NOT do what they signed up for? In my experience, there is a hesitancy of leaders to handle conflict or have uncomfortable conversations. Leadership includes holding people accountable with clear expectations. It’s that simple. ADD one more ingredient – find ways to periodically reward those who consistently get results.
At one of the top four financial services firms, an audit partner brings pizza to his staff who are burning the midnight oil. Another boss hands out “yahoos” to those who have exceeded expectations – which could be dinner for two or tickets to a sporting event.
“Do It Right!” — Whatever your “yahoo,” let people know they are a valued part of your team! It is essential to building client loyalty.