What’s the best way to push your business forward if you work in an agency, as an entrepreneur or as a salesperson? Establish and maintain great client relationships. While there’s no big secret to getting and keeping clients, there are some highly effective strategies you can use to improve how you interact with your client base.
Darren Prince knows about how to get clients. Throughout his career as CEO of Prince Marketing Agency, he’s represented some of the world’s most famous celebrities and athletes, including Magic Johnson, Charlie Sheen, and even Muhammad Ali.
How did he manage to land such legendary clients? It all has to do with his philosophy on Winning Clients: The Guide To Lifelong Relationships For Agencies, Entrepreneurs and Sales People.
You can use the exact same strategies as Darren explains in his course to learn how to get clients.
There are six key tenets of Darren’s approach on how to get clients and client relationship building:
- Attract the Right Clients
- Managing Tricky Clients
- Building Lifelong Relationships
- Managing Multiple Clients
- Dealing with Failure
We’ll look at all six next, taking a deep dive into why they work, and discuss how to get clients that will stay with you for life.
Six Tenets to Winning Clients
#1: Attract the Right Clients
When most people network and contact potential clients, they’re focused solely on attracting as many clients as possible using any method possible. After all, isn’t this how to get clients? Some people even prioritize quantity over quality and will work with almost anyone for a quick buck.
But this kind of outreach is ultimately destructive. If you don’t focus on attracting the right kind of clients for you, then you’re asking for trouble.
Think of it this way –– you wouldn’t choose just anyone to be your spouse. You want someone who deeply understands you and whose values align with yours. It’s the same in a client relationship. That’s why you need to focus on getting the right clients for you. Casting your net too wide can result in volatile relationships that can fail.
In short, you want to focus on finding the right kind of client for you and building a personal connection with them.
This is why you need to have a thorough understanding of who your ideal client is.
How can you do this? One of the best methods is to create a customer persona that represents your target client. Be sure to include as much information as possible, including industry, experience and more.
The tenet is how you connect with your target clients the right way. Since you want to build a personal connection, you’ll want to attend as many in-person events as possible.
High profile leaders and celebrities can usually be found at:
- Charity events
- Community fundraisers
- Book signings
- Red carpet events
- Award shows
- Product launches
These types of events are gold mines for networking, but you have to do it right. There are a lot of common networking mistakes that most people make because they’ve been taught incorrectly. That’s why it’s important to learn and master the right way to network.
Here are some of Darren’s biggest networking dos and don’ts.
DO build a personal connection
Clients want to work with people who understand them, so building a personal connection should be your #1 priority.
Don’t just pitch a business idea –– go the extra mile to connect with any prospective client. That’s how to get clients.
DO conduct research before you go.
If you know in advance who’s going to be at the event, it never hurts to do a bit of research. Find out as much information as you can about your target clients, including their various involvements, passions, and projects.
This will not only give you some great conversation starters; it will also show that you care enough to do your homework.
DO offer value
Think about how you can provide value to the people you meet. This is an opportunity to showcase your connections and how you can help a client in more ways than one.
DON’T make it all about business.
Yes, it’s a networking event, but that doesn’t mean people want to be sold to and talked at.
Take the opportunity to use business as a common ground with a client, and then go deeper to connect on a personal level.
Let the client be the one to ask you questions about yourself and your business.
DON’T open by talking about yourself.
When possible, place the spotlight on your target client. Ask them about things such as:
In short, show them you’re not obsessed with talking about business all the time.
Remember, if a client decides to work with you, it’s because they like and trust you.
High-profile clients can work with whoever they want, so you need to step up to the plate and prove why you’re the right person for them to work with.
Finally, after networking with potential clients, make sure to follow up. Communication is vital (more on that later), and without it, a potential client could slip through your hands. While it’s best to follow up in person, such as at a coffee or inviting the person to a public event, if you can’t see them in person, follow up with an email or a phone call.
#3: Manage Tricky Clients
A gamut of things can make a client “tricky”. Sometimes, you’ll get clients who just don’t communicate with you. They’ll fail to call you back, pay you late (or not at all), and make excuses for their behavior.
And on the other hand, some tricky clients will be extremely demanding, calling or emailing you all the time and distracting you from your other clients and projects.
The key to avoiding tricky clients is to spot them early on. Over time, you’ll develop a knack for knowing whether someone will mesh with you and your values.
If you see any of the behavior mentioned above early on in your relationship, that’s a red flag.
Your clients should understand your passion and purpose just as much as you understand theirs. The client relationship should be mutually beneficial.
But what if you’re already working with a troublesome client? You might feel stuck with them, but you aren’t. While a problem client may help you financially, it’s sometimes just not worth it.
Often, these clients can cost you money by not paying you, asking you for more work, or distracting you from your other clients.
These clients may even complain and hurt your reputation even though you’re not at fault whatsoever.
If you have a client like this, it’s best to end the relationship in a professional manner. Often, you’ll want to tell the client that you’re just not the right fit for them.
No matter how you end the relationship, offer the option to speak with them directly or by phone, even if you start by email. When speaking with the client, keep your cool, even if they get angry.
Finally, make sure you’ve finished any existing projects before ending the relationship. This will help you avoid bad business reviews.
Don’t let this get to you. Terminating a relationship with a tricky client isn’t an ending –– it’s a new beginning.
#4: Building Lifelong Relationships
Keeping a client for life might sound impossible, but by using the right strategies, it’s actually an attainable goal.
If you want to develop a lifelong relationship with a client, you need to do a few things.
Always keep in touch no matter what stage of the relationship you’re in.
While you shouldn’t be texting or emailing a client multiple times an hour, you certainly want to always keep the lines of communication open and take the initiative to reach out and ensure your client is taken care of.
Don’t Treat Your Clients Like Clients
Your client relationships won’t blossom if you’re talking about nothing but business. Instead, treat your clients like family. How can you do this?
Be there for them in times of trouble, check up on them regularly, send them texts or emails on birthdays and holidays, and communicate often.
There are many other people who are after your clients’ money, which is why it’s so important to build a relationship on something deeper than business.
Determine Your X-Factor
What makes you different from the countless other entrepreneurs who do the same exact thing you do? Figure out how you stand out from the crowd and present that value to your clients.
Anyone can make money for a client. That’s not what you need to prove. You need to prove to your client that you’ll be there for them through thick and thin.
Remember, people choose to work with you because they like and trust you, so focus on building that trust with compassion and goodwill.
Under Promise And Over Deliver
You want to be seen as someone who always delivers on his or her promises. A great way to do that is to under promise so that you can blow your clients out of the water by delivering more than they expected.
Now, the reality of business is that you will lose clients, and that’s okay. Do your best to never burn bridges with old clients. Always try to split on good terms.
Who knows –– you might end up reconnecting with them down the line.
#5: Managing Multiple Clients
At this point, you’re hopefully dealing with multiple clients. But this can get hectic pretty quickly.
How can you manage all these clients without disappointing any of them?
Here are a few invaluable strategies for juggling multiple clients.
Create A Routine And Get Organized
When you’re dealing with multiple clients, consistency is crucial. Set a time to meet with or contact your clients and set aside another block of time for things like email and administrative work.
Build A Dedicated Team
Another way is to assemble an amazing team of people who share your values. Find people who are just as committed and passionate as you are and bring them onto your team.
Be Honest And Realistic About Your Ability To Deliver Results
Don’t allow yourself to feel pressured to try to do everything.
If you can’t meet a last-minute request or take on a new project, politely tell your client you can’t and instead find an alternative solution for them.
Keep Your Clients In The Know
Make it a habit to regularly update your clients on the status of the project. If you’re making progress, tell them. If you run into a delay, tell them.
#6: Deal With Failure
Failure happens to everyone. Sometimes it’s just a minor setback, but other times it can be a crushing blow. When failure happens, it’s important to not lose sight of what matters most.
Many entrepreneurs let failure get to them, and they develop unhealthy habits. They start eating poorly, sleeping less and generally taking poor care of themselves in the name of “hard work”. This is bad for both the entrepreneur and the business. Simply put, if you’re not in a good place yourself, neither is your business.
That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself first and foremost. Putting your health on the back burner can only create problems. Make sure you’re in great physical, mental, and emotional health at all times.
Finally, when failure does hit, don’t let it define you. Instead of letting the failure consume you, reframe it as a positive experience by using it as an opportunity to learn.
How could you have prevented the failure? What can you do to improve your business or processes to ensure success from now on?
By focusing on and prioritizing self-care and reframing failure as positive, you’ll be much better equipped to roll with the punches, learn from your mistakes, and continue on the pathway to success.
How To Get Clients
Since 1994, Darren has put these strategies into action day after day. As a result, he’s maintained an incredibly loyal client base (although he’d call them his family).
If you’re interested in learning even more insider details about Darren’s approach for how to get clients for life, explore his courses Winning Clients.
You can then use these strategies to find the perfect clients for you and your business.
Ian Chandler is the author of The No B.S. Guide to Freelance Writing and writes about marketing, entrepreneurship, and freelancing.