Have you ever been frustrated that people weren’t coming to your business, church, or events? Or that once they did, they didn’t seem to stick around?

How to Get More Clients/Customers and Keep Them

Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/yourdon/

This is a problem that plagues almost every organization that thrives off of numbers or is actively trying to grow their size. Most efforts are focused on getting people in the door for the first time. The intent behind those efforts isn’t bad, but simply misplaced. It is in correctly placing your efforts that you will see the biggest breakthrough.

I am currently doing consulting with a church for the re-structuring and implementation of their volunteer program. (If you are interested in having me coach or consult you or your organization, send me an email at [email protected] to start the conversation) During a recent meeting with the client, he asked me about a phrase he had heard at a church conference on growth. That phrase was “be sticky at the backdoor”.

I hadn’t heard that phrase before, so I asked for a bit of context to how presenter explained it. Essentially, they advocated being as attractive to your current members/attendees as you are to prospective members/attendees. This is the correct placement of efforts — aim at those that have already bought into you or your organization.

Think about it this way, most, if not all, of you have a mobile phone. When you see a TV, internet, or direct mail (remember snail mail?!) advertisement, who is it aimed at; current customers or prospective customers? Lately, many of the ads have offered to buy out your current contract. These companies are willing to spend up to $350 just so that you’ll switch your service to them!

I’m not saying that they should stop advertising to prospective customers. They should! What I want to point out is that you rarely, if ever, see ads saying that a company will spend up to $350 to keep you as their customer.

You probably know that “word of mouth” advertising is the best form of advertising. It is also the most difficult to control because you can’t buy it like you can a TV ad. You can, however, do everything to influence it by creating an amazing experience for your current customers or clients.

Here are 3 questions to keep in mind as you go about building your business, church, or event.

1. Who is my 1st customer?

The CEO of Chick-fil-A, Dan Cathy, said in an interview that his first customer wasn’t the person buying a delicious chicken sandwich but his 60,000+ employees. He understands that if he will take care of them that they will, in turn, take care of the customers coming through the door.

I heard a quote one time that said “your customer’s level of enthusiasm will never exceed that of your employees or volunteers.” This tells me that I need to really take care of my employees/volunteers if I want my customers to be impressed or excited about what I’m doing.

So, if you don’t have anyone reporting to you, then your first customer is the customer you already have and not the prospective customer that may come along.

2. How would I feel about what’s happening if I was a current customer?

Go back to the illustration with the mobile phone companies. How do you feel when you see these incentives and offers for potential customers and nothing near as rewarding for you the current, loyal customer?

So, before you roll out your next product, program, incentive, think about how you would feel as your own current customer. I’m not saying to dial down your offers to prospective customers, but create the same level of offering for the customers you already have.

3. What kind of reputation or legacy do you or your organization want to have?

A few paragraphs up I mentioned “word of mouth” advertising. It can be as damaging as it is helpful. There are a lot of people in sales (myself included) that will tell clients, “the biggest compliment you can give me is a referral.” That statement works in reverse if you’re not taking care of current customers. You will lose business before you even get a chance to offer them anything simply by a negative comment from a current (most likely ex) customer.\

For example, I also sell insurance as well as running this blog, and one of my insurance clients is a local CrossFit gym. I received a text message yesterday from the owner informing me that he shared my name and number in the CrossFit owners Facebook group. This group contains every CrossFit gym owner in the USA. That is a HUGE compliment. He just told hundreds of potential clients that if you call me that you will be taken care of.

So, you can see that it pays to be “sticky at the backdoor” and not just at the front door. As a matter of fact, I would go so far as to say that the “stickier” you are at the backdoor the more people you will have coming through the front door.

Doing business, even living life, with excellence is about taking care of those or what we already have. Everyone wants to be well taken care of and you have the opportunity to offer that.

[reminder]What best practices do you use to attract new customers and keep the ones you have?[/reminder]

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