To attract clients, create advocates
By Sandy Schussel
Sandy Schussel, LLC
The other day, I was listening to a very successful advisor and entrepreneur talk about how client “attractors” are so much more successful and less stressed out than client “chasers.”
One of my books is all about how to be a client attractor, and for nearly 15 years, I’ve been talking about how attracting clients starts with figuring out how to go beyond satisfying your existing clients in order to create passionate, loyal and enthusiastic clients — referral partners — who go out of their way to bring new clients to you.
You create these advocates and referral partners by paying close attention to three activities:
1. Satisfying them constantly and consistently with your service and your attention to their needs
2. Creating as many opportunities for contact with them as you can
3. Making each of your moments of contact as “magical” as possible
In other words, attracting new clients is, at least in part, connected to the experience you are giving your existing clients. The more amazing the experience, the more they will be talking about you to associates, friends and family members who will want to have a similar experience. And that experience is something you create.
While the number of ways to create magical experiences is unlimited, here are six that come to my mind immediately:
1. Use each opportunity you have to speak with a client (or with your contact at a client’s company) to learn more about him or her.
Spend time on every appointment talking about their lives. In his book, "Swim With The Sharks," Harvey Mackay lists 66 questions about customers to which every professional should have answers. Yet, most advisors I work with have never even asked their clients for the dates of their wedding anniversaries, let alone how they met their spouses, how the husbands proposed, or what their weddings were like.
2. Keep track of important dates and make use of them.
“Sometimes, I send a birthday card,” a client told me. This is someone who will not be able to create advocates to help him attract clients. For your best clients, offer to throw a birthday gathering and invite his friends, or surprise her with a bottle of champagne when they’re having their anniversary dinner at their favorite restaurant. Or, have your whole office call to sing him "Happy Birthday" on the phone. “Sometimes I send a birthday card” just doesn’t cut it. 3. Call your clients for no reason. “I was thinking about you today. How’s that ___ doing? How about getting together for lunch?” These are the moments your clients will remember and tell their friends about — not the moments during which you were advising them.
4. Have something available for children and pets — even if they don’t tend to visit you. A grandfather is in your office to talk about his business and your conversation ends with, “Oh ... and here’s something for your grandchildren I think they’ll enjoy.” This is the type of “magic” you can create.
5. Give meaningful gifts. I wrote a while ago about finding a golf ball from a cruise ship in the surf at the Jersey shore and delighting a client whose son collected golf balls from different country clubs. I sent the ball to her for his collection. The cost was the postage, but an expensive holiday fruit basket would not have had anywhere near the same impact. Gifts from the heart that show you listen to your clients and care about their lives are a powerful way to elicit referrals — to attract new clients.
6. Get your staff on board. Decide how you want your calls handled and discuss it with your staff. At minimum, they need to be pleasant and helpful, and to identify themselves by name. Trust them, but test anyway. Call your office — or have someone call while you’re listening in — and see how your employees handle the call.
What experience are you creating for your clients?