Achieving 100% Client Retention
In a perfect world we'd all have 100% customer retention! Every person we agree to do business with is a perfect fit for us and we are a perfect fit for them. We will stand and deliver our products and services with integrity and they will experience the optimal return on their investment. Over time we establish trust and credibility and might occasionally become friends. They're not going anywhere - or are they?
I'm not a math scholar but I'm pretty good at basic equations. Here's one that most business owners and sales people are counting on: Qualified Prospects + Need/Interest = IDEAL CLIENTS. Now let's agree to a few assumptions:
1. You believe in your products and services.
2. You can easily and passionately explain their benefits.
3. Your prospect needs and wants your products and services.
4. You follow through and deliver on everything you agree to do.
5. You connect with them as appropriate (weekly, monthly, quarterly).
Based on living up to the "givens" listed above why aren't all of our clients staying with us FOREVER?!? I recently lost two clients so I began to consider some of the variables that may have affected my not so positive outcome.
I could honestly answer YES to all five of the givens. If it wasn't me...who could it be? THEM? So I made a list of the Top 10 Characteristics (with brief descriptions) of my target market:
5+ Years in Their Industry - Survived Start Up
2+ Yrs at the Same Company - Achieved Measurable Success
Business Owner - Invested in Building the Business
Entrepreneurial Mindset - Visionary/Calculated Risk Taker
Life Long Learner - Invest In Their Own Development
Coachable - Knows They Don't Know Everything
Established in Their Industry - Teaches and Trains Others in Their Field
Passionate - Completely Believes in Their Prod/Svc
Wants/Needs Referrals - Understands Referral Marketing is a Science
Positive Cash Flow - Able to Budget/Invest Based on Their Goals
What are the Top 10 Characteristics of your target market?
My most successful clients have nine or ten of these traits. The two I lost only had two or three. My lesson learned - If a qualified prospect does not match most of my descriptors they're not a good match for me. The proven equation looks something like this:
Qualified Prospects + Top 10 Traits + Need/Interest = IDEAL CLIENTS
Just because they need (or want) my product or service doesn't mean they're in a position to experience the maximum benefits. Most importantly, just because we're not a good fit in business does not mean we're not a good fit as friends and colleagues.
One of the most selfless things we can do when we're talking to an unqualified prospect is refer them to someone that can help them with their most immediate needs. Ideally, they'll develop into a qualified prospect over time by acquiring the skillset of your target market.
Quick personal note: My 9th grade geometry teacher would be so proud. My ability to prove, disprove and verbalize equations wasn't quite as impressive back then. Admittedly it's not all that impressive now. If she'd only spoken in terms of business; I'm a fourth generation entrepreneur! I still don't know what time Train A is going to meet Train B. What I do know is that I don't care to be on either train because they're gonna CRASH!
One last variable to consider - Could some of our most successful clients become less than ideal clients by allowing their abilities to diminish? Absolutely.
Perhaps the goal shouldn't be to attain 100% client retention. The goal is to serve people that meet 100% of your target market requirements in an effort to serve them to the best of your abilities.
Paula Frazier is a referral marketing expert for Referral Institute and has helped thousands of business people create millions of dollars in qualified referrals over the last 9 years! She is part of an exclusive team of international Master Trainers and collaborates with the leaders in her industry to continually develop cutting edge referral marketing concepts for the organization. As a published author she's also acknowledged in the New York Times best seller, Truth or Delusion - Busting Networking's Biggest Myths. Check out #33, Delusion with a twist! Paula can be contacted at email@example.com