So often in business we focus on holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas to give out extra helpings of gratitude to our clients. I happen to think Valentine’s Day is for sweethearts of all kind—even clients. So let’s take a moment today to let them know just how much we appreciate them.
1. Say thank you. Take the opportunity today to tell your clients how much you love and appreciate them and what an honor and privilege it is to help them in their businesses. An email is fine, but a phone call or card is really the perfect touch.
2. Dole out the atta boys/girls freely. Everyone appreciates a pat on the back. Tell your clients what qualities you admire most about them and the work they are doing in their business and the world. Describe to them all the reasons why they are so wonderful to work with.
3. Give a little gift. I can’t think of a single person on earth who doesn’t delight in receiving an unexpected present. Whether it’s flowers, chocolates or a little trinket you know a client will like, you really can’t go wrong here. One caution: Save the business branded SWAG for business occasions. No one feels special about something you bought in bulk to promote your business. Make it personal. Make it something that shows you expended some time and effort choosing. THAT is what makes it special and meaningful.
4. Sing their praises. Be an advocate for your clients’ businesses. Love and appreciation are wonderful things, but practical referrals can mean new business and more money for your clients. Post a review. Rate their website. Send an email to your contacts introducing them to your client’s business. These are just some of small gestures that can have real, tangible impact for your clients.
5. Share your resources. What or who do you know that your clients might appreciate? Is there some free advice or consulting you can give them related to a goal or objective they are currently interested in? Give them the inside scoop as a little way of saying, “Thank you, you’ve helped my business by being my client and here’s a little something I’d like to give back to you.”
6. Reward your existing clients. Everyone is always giving discounts and freebies to prospects. But why? What did they do to earn anything? That’s just bribery. Instead, how about rewarding your ACTUAL clients… you know, the ones who actually work with you, pay you and stick by you. You wouldn’t have a business without them. You could threw in some extra work you don’t worry about billing for. Or get them to tell you what the one goal or nagging to-do item is that just keeps getting pushed to the back-burner. Then help them get ‘er done once and for all at no charge. Making their life easier is a wonderful–and memorable– way to show you care about them and their lives and making things better for them, not just getting paid.
7. Host a client social. Whether online or in-person, this is a fun way to get together with clients, introduce them to each other and express thanks to all of them for being clients. You could pick up the tab for dinner or lunch, and in the case of an online event, organize one or two fun games.
8. Brush up on your clients. When is the last time you updated your client info sheet? Spend some time brushing up on what you know about each client. Add those personal tidbits of info you have come to learn about each client personally. The more you get to know each client as a person, the deeper you can nurture the relationship. And don’t forget to share things about yourself as well.
9. Put your money where your mouth is. I don’t just work with my clients. I have frequently purchased their services and/or products for myself or to give as gifts to my other clients. Appreciating your clients like this is a great way to pay it forward.
10. Contribute to their conversations. Post comments on your clients’ blogs and social networking posts. Retweet their tweets. Friend them on Facebook. Give feedback they can use in their products and testimonials. Everyone appreciates these kinds of contributions that help spread their word and build their reputation. And contributing in this way helps them generate the discussions they are hoping to cultivate on these platforms.