In the sea of distinguished experts who all strive toward creating a circle of loyal clients and placing themselves in the top ranks of the market, finding your much-deserved place is not an easy task, especially if you are a solopreneur.
Solopreneurs are self-motivated people who are entirely responsible for their client relationship and, ultimately, their career success. Being your own boss means you have to fight the biggest challenge: how to find enough work to be profitable.
Naturally, seeking and building loyal connections with customers are cornerstones to any future success and prerequisite for creating a long-term client relationship. The worst case scenario for any ambitious solopreneur is to lose a customer. However, the omnipresence of technology has changed the face of client collaboration.
A decade ago, the sales and the delivery of a product required much more communication with clients. Today, when most information is available through a variety of media channels, clients can find any information about the product or service with just a few clicks of a mouse and easily change their suppliers. As a result, many solopreneurs struggle to stand out in today’s ever-evolving market and focus their efforts on strengthening their connections with clients.
So, what can you do to build strong business connections and make them last?
Andrew Sobel, the author of Making rain – the secrets of building lifelong client loyalty, claims that there are three main drivers of client loyalty:
- The value you add
- The degree of trust you develop
- The extra mile you are willing to go
Sobel explains that these factors can be viewed as a part of an equation. However, keep in mind that loyalty doesn’t mean that the client will do business with you when he doesn’t need your service or choose you over another vendor. However, it does mean he’s more likely to recommend you and connect you to new clients and help you develop a circle of loyal clients.
With that being said, here are a few groundbreaking rules of successful client collaboration every solopreneur should follow.
If you want to bring real value to your business, you need to be able to provide unique and relevant information to your client. Be proactive and advise your clients how to find the most meaningful and long-term solutions. From doing thorough market research and customer interviews to using the knowledge of your key relationships and forwarding relevant articles, there is a wide array of accessible resources you can make use of.
Sarah Theodore, Macquarie Group Head of Client Experience in Macquarie’s Wealth Management division, points out that we should ask ourselves two questions: What does my client need or what does she value? And in what way can I deliver that to them in a way that they can understand? Be the first to across a new study or business information and share them with your clients. They will undoubtedly appreciate your dedication and value your work even more.
Make it more personal
Rick Warren, the author of The purpose driven church once said that to have a friend you must be a friend. In the world of digital communication, we hardly have enough time for a face-to-face interaction. However, if you want to build trust and meet your client’s expectations you need to have the capacity to care for others. Think about the ways you demonstrate caring to your closest ones – your family and friends. Instead of using different communication tools, send a real card of appreciation thanking them for their loyalty, or for no reason at all.
Cultivate the personal touch by being the person who will connect them with important business people and extend their business network. By giving them your time and attention and showing them that you truly care about your relationship, you will demonstrate respect and put yourself in an indispensable position.
Exceed your client’s expectations
Authenticity is a golden nugget in client communication. Jim Shepard, the author of Relationship Marketing for Solopreneurs, explains that authenticity builds integrity, synergy, and creates lifelong connections not only with clients but all people in our surrounding.
Try going beyond client’s expectations. Under-promise and over-deliver in everything you do. For example, if you are starting a complex and demanding project which may require an extended deadline, bullet-proof yourself against possible pitfalls by building extra time into your schedule. This will allow you to show your full potential and deliver the product earlier than expected.
Reward your clients
In today’s competitive market little things mean a lot. Creating a customer rewards program is one of the techniques that you need to consider if you want to keep your best clients loyal for years to come. From social media channels, which enable you to send early notifications on sales or celebrate your customers’ loyalty to giving them coupon discounts and free shipping, there is a variety of ways you can surprise your clients and protect your customer relationship.
Make sure you first identify your customers and find out their preferences before deciding what loyalty program would be the most appropriate. Besides getting familiar with your customer’s habits, you need to clearly define the goals you are trying to achieve with this program. Naturally, the type of the program heavily depends on the type of your business.
Become a team player
Take some time and truly listen to your client’s needs. Have them play an important role in developing your business by asking them for their opinions and, most importantly, allowing them to interact your business when they want. Clients bring experience and your team brings expertise. By joining your forces together, you will reach business solutions more quickly, while understanding your customer’s priorities and make them feel valued.
Cultivate great customer relationships by putting yourself in your client’s shoes. Focus on personalized communication and think about what your clients want from your business in a long-term capacity. Your investment of time now will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.
About the Author: Maja Mrsic is a professional content writer and editor at Active Collab. After finishing her Master’s Degree in English studies, she pursued a career in content and technical writing in digital marketing.