Wednesday, January 14, 2009

7 tips for attracting more A-list clients

You know who your best clients are. They only complain when there’s a legitimate issue, they pay on time, they say good things about you to their associates. Your goal in these tough times is to find other customers just like them.

Heed these seven simple tips and you’ll land more of the kind of clients that will keep your company profitable and growing in these tough times.

1. Deliver a message that gets to the value of your services. Marketing is the process of educating people to desire the value that you and your company can deliver. Different clients have different perceptions of value; adjust your marketing message to fit the client.

2. Use a clear statement, usually just a sentence or two, which explains how your service will add to the client’s property and, by extension, their life. Keep this out front throughout your conservation with your client. You’re focusing on the benefits of your idea, design or service to your client.

3. Know when to shut up and listen. You can’t know what your clients want if you don’t listen to them. Beyond that, listening is the first (and often most important) indication that you give to clients that you really care about their needs. Ask questions, and then listen.

4. Emphasize the “warm & fuzzies”. You’re not just planting a deciduous tree, you’re giving your client shade in the summer
and a beautiful display of red and yellow leaves in the autumn. You’re not just going to mow and trim their property, you’re going to deliver a maintained property that pleases their spouse or makes their employer happy. People want to see, smell, hear and enjoy their landscapes. Describe to them what they will get.

5. Use good words. Use simple, descriptive and positive words. Avoid abstractions and professional jargon.

6. Empower the client to make the decision. It’s time to get down to business. Remember this phrase and use it: “What I’d like to do is walk you through our ideas on the project so we can show you how this design best achieves all the things you talked about. We then would like to hear your feedback and concerns, so we can move into the next phase of this project.” You’ve acknowledged the client’s role in helping you progress in the project. This simple act is acknowledging your respect for them and their authority, and they will be more likely to be open to what you have to say.

7. Yes, there will be disagreements. When disagreements arise align yourself with the client, not against him or her. Don’t let your ego over-ride your best interest. An argument will almost certainly destroy whatever goodwill you and your client had built to that point. — LM Staff

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