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In Business Biting The Hand That Feeds You Can Leave a Very 'Poor' Taste

As self-employed entrepreneurs we all know the value of our customers. They provide testimonials, word of mouth referrals, loyalty, and the biggie income - music to your ears, isn't it?

Biting The Hand That Feeds YouFACT #1: Paying Customers = Money
Well, that's a pretty simple equation isn't it? Happy customers provide testimonials, word of mouth referrals, loyalty, and an oldie but a goodie, m-o-n-e-y. The problem is, as entrepreneurs we are forever in pursuit of building. Building in itself is not the problem, the problem arises when you fall into the trap of forgetting your existing clients in pursuit of adding new clients.

FACT #2: 1 New Client – 1 Old Client = A Deficit Study after study confirms the cost of acquiring a new client is 4-6 times more expensive than keeping an existing client.

Here's some vital steps to keep your clients happy and your income in the positive.

  1. Your boss isn't you. We became entrepreneurs to be our own boss, but it's not really the case. Although you pick your hours and where you work, you are paid by your clients. When you forget this, I guarantee you things will begin to shatter.
  2. Anticipate their needs. Customers don't buy products, they buy solutions to their needs! “I don't need a new piece of jewellery, I need a gift that my mom will love”. What are you doing to help understand the needs of your clients?
  3. Let your clients know they are appreciated. How do you thank them? Do you recognize them when you are outside of your business realm?
  4. Listen, listen, listen. Make sure to give them your undivided attention; nothing is more off-setting then sitting with someone who is distracted ... especially when you are paying them. Remember your competitor is only a phone call away.
  5. Always be positive. A client that is having a bad day, shouldn't get off the phone with you only to feel even worse. There is a distinction between client and friend. Many clients can turn into friends, but until you reach that point, ensure you are always on the right side.
  6. We all make mistakes. Let the client know if there is a problem, even if this means an awkward conversation. Most clients can appreciate we all make mistakes. Sometimes the deal breaker is not the mistake itself, but how its handled.
  7. Be helpful - even if there's no immediate profit in it. People will remember how you treat them and be able to assess your true sincerity. Remember, a warm greeting, a random act of kindness, doing something for free - it can all add up to a customer seeing you in a favourable way.

So while you are building your vast business empire, make sure you are not destroying what you currently have, otherwise, you will forever be on the entrepreneurial hamster wheel. By focus on your existing customers while you expand, you will be ensure you remain on the plus side of the business equation.

Karen Baring


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