For the small consulting firm and independent consultants, building strong customer loyalty can make or break your business. Weak customer loyalty, at the very least, will make the struggle to keep your sales pipeline full a lot more difficult. Strong customer loyalty will provide dividends for years to come. Some of the common approaches to loyalty building are:
- Wine and dine (or lunch and brunch) your clients
- Provide outstanding service
- Be professional
Spoiling your clients with good meals and drinks is fun for all involved, but I do not recommend this as a general rule. There are too many ways for this to go wrong: company policy violations (improper gifts), setting a precedent for future dealings, liability concerns, and the risk of being the next big thing on YouTube. Reserve this for post-go live celebrations, if you must. Providing outstanding service is an obvious choice and professionalism speaks for itself, though the monetary value of either is difficult to quantify.
I have found one method that is not as obvious, but is absolutely effective and profitable: adopt your client’s vision, mission, and culture. There are three steps to doing it right, which I term the RDI Method: Reconnaissance, Disguise, and Integration.
Step 1: Reconnaissance: [continue reading…]