Developing new clients and sustaining those relationships is so much like dating. If you can remember when you first met your current spouse or significant other you might recall how much time you spent thinking about that person, all of the special things you did to impress him/her and how strongly you desired to be needed by him/her.
If you have been in that relationship for a while you know that (for most of us) over time our emotions calm down and the relationship becomes routine. We become less focused and maybe even take for granted that everything is moving along just fine. We stop our efforts to demonstrate caring, we become deaf to hints of need and put our relationship on auto-pilot.
Does this sound like a recipe for impending, emotional disaster? Yup, it does. All of this holds true in our client relationships as well.
Remember that logic is how we justify business decisions -- emotion is how we make them.
When the economy gets tight your clients need you more than ever, and you need them more than ever. You need to start dating them all over again!
When was the last time you took a client to lunch just to talk about anything but current matters? When was the last time you sat with your client team and brainstormed about the challenges of your client's business and developed ways to help them succeed?
In recent years Date Night has become a very popular activity with couples. It is an established evening each week when the pair are devoted to having fun together with each other without distraction.
Remember, your clients made an emotional choice to select you to be their service provider. Honor that emotion and start treating them as if you desire them as a client all over again.
There was a commercial running on TV several years ago for a company I do not recall. In the commercial the CEO walks into an all-hands meeting with several airline tickets in his hand. It is obvious in the commercial that tough times are at hand and he is telling his team that, "We've lost touch with our clients". Then he walks around the room handing out the airline tickets stating, "We are going to visit every one of our clients and let them know we really care."
In a down economy do not ever forget the clients that brought you at least this far. In fact you should work your butt off to let them know you still care about everything you promised when you first started dating.
(Return to Marketing Success in a Down Economy index)