Showing Appreciation Component of Building Business Relationships
It’s hard to quantify the value of client loyalty, but for small businesses, it’s everything.
Small businesses don’t necessarily have a formal way of appreciating your customers. Nor do you have a loyalty program in place to show your patrons that you value their services. However, there are many things that you can do to show your biggest and longest clients how thankful you are for their business.
Why Do You Need to Show Client Appreciation?
People’s willingness to do business with you has a lot to do with how they feel about you.
Your clients will only feel as valuable to you as how much time and effort you put into making them feel valuable. Sure, meeting and exceeding their expectations are a great way to do this. However, you can do more as well. Client appreciation reflects a proactive approach to engaging the clients that will have a huge impact on your relationship.
Showing clients how grateful you are for their trust is where client appreciation starts.
Here are a couple of benefits you stand to gain from client appreciation:
Better reviews and feedback - Reviews and feedback are crucial. Good reviews and feedback are how you gain a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Client loyalty - If you take care of your clients, they, in turn, will take care of you. Your client and their company will enjoy their relationship with you and feel comfortable doing business with you. They won’t haggle, nor ask for discounts. They’ll choose your services over others because they want to, and they’re more likely to recommend your services as well.
Higher profits - Retaining clients is much more profitable than finding new ones. Clients who feel valued will keep on coming back. This continued and ongoing relationship with a client greatly increases the amount of profit you gain from them.
How to Show Client Appreciation
Smart with small and yet personal gestures
The benefit of being a solo freelancer, or running a small business, is that it makes it easier to show personalized appreciation because you are personally involved with every aspect of a client’s project.
Something as small and as simple as sending a personal letter during holidays, or congratulating clients after reaching a particular milestone are great examples.
The key here is authenticity.
If you value your relationship with the client, don’t be afraid to show emotions. This is especially helpful when it is matched with positive feedback from your client.
Start your very own referral program
Offering small discounts or credit in exchange for client referrals is a great way to ensure the loyalty of your current clients and the possibility of making new business and connections via referrals.
Don’t forget to reward repeat clients
The argument exists that satisfactory and exemplary work from a freelancer is already a reward in and of itself, but what harm is there in offering clients a “slight” discount in exchange for securing their business in the long run?
A good example of this is giving pricing discounts for clients who sign a long-term contract with you.
As opposed to going from one contract to another, a long-term contract arrangement is appealing in the eyes of clients because it helps them save money in the long run. Not to mention, it gives them the assurance that they will always have access to your services. At the same time, it gives your freelancing career a more stable and predictable cash flow.
Teach your clients something new - for free!
Creating a valuable and shareable piece of content makes you an excellent resource of information, both for your current clients and prospective ones.
For example, freelance photographers, creating guides on how to take the best photos using your own smartphone, or how to “edit photos like a pro” is a great way to showcase your skills and offer some helpful tips. Or, if you’re a writer, you can write about your very own writing process. You can show clients how you make sure that you can routinely put out well-researched and informative pieces.
In the worst-case scenario, readers will appreciate the advice and clients will remember exactly why they prefer your services as a freelancer over others.
Showing Your Clients You Care
A loyal client is a profitable client. They give you a consistent stream of income. They also save you a lot of time and effort getting used to working with a new client on a new contract. Not to mention, loyal clients are a valuable source of referrals.
Yes, these are small gestures, but whoever said gestures have to be big and grandiose?
What’s important here is that you show your clients that you appreciate their trust and loyalty.