Landing a new client is always great news for business-to-business marketers.
But once the celebrating is over, it’s time to get serious. The way you begin a new client relationship can have a big impact on how long you keep the customer.
Here are 10 ways to start off on the right foot with a new client in a smart business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy.
- Welcome the client with a gift. Thank the client for choosing you with an edible treat like candy or cookies or a branded business-related premium with your logo.
- Have the company president extend a personal welcome. New customers want to feel special. Ask your president to reach out to new clients with a call, letter, or hand-written note of appreciation for the new relationship.
- Create a new client on-boarding process. Set up a process for introducing a new client to your company. Schedule an in-person meeting at your office or plant to orient the client and introduce your team.
- Add the client to your ongoing customer outreach. New clients should begin receiving e-newsletters, email, and other ongoing customer communication from your firm and be integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) plan.
- Don’t bombard the client with sales pitches. Resist the temptation to try to sell a new customer more and more products or services at every turn. Give them time to get to know you and trust you.
- Connect on social media. Follow your client and their company on social media and invite them to follow you. Staying attuned to their blogs and their communication with followers can help you understand their business and suggest ways to help them succeed.
- Invite new clients to join your advisory board. A customer advisory board can give you insights into market trends, client needs, and potential sales opportunities. If you have a customer advisory board, invite new clients to rotate in and share their experience and views.
- Be sure the first order or project is delivered flawlessly. You may never be under closer scrutiny than the first time you deliver a product or service to a new customer. Use that first order to demonstrate that you are the right vendor.
- Monitor the data. Periodically review the client’s transaction history on your database so you can spot shifts in ordering patterns that could signal a change in their business or a cause for concern.
- Check in. Three to six months into a new client relationship is usually a good time to meet or talk directly with a new client about their needs and your performance. If they’re pleased, use the opportunity to suggest expanding the relationship. If they’re unhappy, fix what’s wrong and reassure them of your commitment to their satisfaction.
The Best Way to Keep a Client
No matter how well you start a relationship, it won’t last if you don’t continue to deliver outstanding service and results on an ongoing basis. Consistent excellence is the smartest marketing strategy of all.
One final suggestion: A long-time client of my Cleveland, Ohio marketing agency used to give new customers an unforgettable welcome: He would gather the entire management team in the conference room to greet the customer with a surprise standing ovation when they arrived for their first meeting. You may not need to go that far, but a memorable, personal welcome can help you get started right.