Every driven business person knows that the key to unlocking a lifelong client can be found when you become an unwavering resource. When you have the ability to add the perfect amount of value to your client’s life, aside from your products and services, they will be hard-pressed to leave for your competitors. Adding real value to your clients’ lives outside of just the product or service you offer is what it means to be a resource.
What are the benefits of becoming a resource or hub of information for your clients?
You become their go-to. Well, in any consultative role, an obvious reason is because you become a hub for your clients when they have a decision to make. Take a financial planner, for example. Hundreds of clients share with their financial advisor their entire financial portfolios. With that level of trust, it isn’t crazy to assume that your clients would welcome your recommendation and seek your guidance for other life decisions. Recommendations on things like home, auto, and health insurance, mortgage lenders, and even attorneys or legal counsel. If you position yourself as your clients’ go-to for other things, you are further embedded into their lives as a person they trust.
Retention rates are better. When you become a “hub” that helps your clients with the other stressors in their lives, they are far less likely to leave you. Not only will they value you for whatever primary product or service you are giving them, they will also value you as a resource for other areas. When your clients view you as a resource, they feel secure and comfortable as your client.
Referrals, referrals, referrals. You better believe that the more clients that trust you and look to you for advice in your field, the more people they will refer to you. Retention is essential to referrals. If a client is overly-satisfied with their service or product, they will tell their family, friends, and sometimes anyone they know. Delighting is essential to retaining clients, and retention is essential to referrals. Feed the cycle!
Okay, so we know the benefits of becoming a hub of information for your clientele, but how can you do it? We’ve come up these four ways to dazzle and retain by becoming a resource in their worlds:
- You have to be an excellent listener and learn to read between the lines. No, I’m not asking you to develop a super power, but learning not to just hear, but to truly listen is an art. When you genuinely focus on what your client says, it will be obvious what they value, what concerns them, and what stresses them out. When you gather these tidbits of information from your clientele and can read between the lines to find the underlying meaning, you have a secret weapon. Say, for example, you are the director of member services at your local credit union. A couple of your long-time clients, Ed and Luna Murphy, come in complaining that they are confused and overwhelmed by their healthcare options during open enrollment. Of course, as they are venting, they don’t expect you to be able to help them as it isn’t a primary service of a credit union- but what if you did? Listening to their problems can help you to see the needs and concerns of your clients, so you learn how to better serve them.
- You must be able to anticipate client needs (this is why it’s so important to listen). Taking our example of Ed and Luna Murphy, if you were actively listening the day they expressed their healthcare woes, you could help. Share with them a trusted local contact, and if you don’t have one, ask around and do a little research. In a way, this adds insulation to your relationship with the customer and positions you as a true resource. You’d be surprised how far this goes for clients. Don’t feel like going the extra mile? That’s fine, just keep in mind your clients may leave you for someone who will.
- Be detail-oriented. Ever heard the expression “it’s the details that matter” or “it’s in the details”? Of course, we all have, and that’s because it’s true. Being detail-oriented means you will pay attention to small things that others overlook. Paying attention to when your client’s birthday or anniversary is, or if they have a big life change like a new baby or marriage, can take your standard conversation about banking to a meaningful, personal conversation. That sort of emotional connection helps us resonate and empathize with others.
- Be available when they need you. It doesn’t matter if you clearly post your office hours on the website, if someone tries to get a hold of you and can’t, it resonates with them. Now, obviously there are times when everyone needs to disconnect from their work, and that’s okay, but there are ways to make sure your client never feels isolated by you. That being said, when you’re working a regular week, try to be accommodating. That call at dinner might bother you at the time, but in the long run, your client will never forget the above and beyond service. If you aren’t available, make it easy for your clients to leave a message, and call them back as soon as you can.
Becoming a value added resource for your clients doesn’t come for free- it takes hard work. But the reward you get for doing so can be exponential.