Let’s face it. Nothing says “I care about you” more than a nice hot (or cold) cup of Starbucks coffee. For years, I’ve met up with countless friends, charity organizers and family over coffee to catch up and build better relationships, but never with clients. (I use it as a stepping stone to show someone I genuinely care about them.) It wasn’t until recently, however, that a client from New York ‘one-upped’ me and sent my fiancé and I a huge bouquet of flowers from bouqs.com. It felt amazing. I had never received flowers as a guy, but the fact that a client sent them to thank me for my service meant a lot. (Not to mention, they live over 500 miles away..) I had never sent anything to clients before (mainly because they are scattered from the USA to Australia,) but after receiving the flowers, I was on a mission to return the favor. I decided it was time to put my theory of blessing people with Starbucks to the test, by sending all my US-based clients Starbucks gift cards and hand-written "thank you” letters after they became a client.
Before any of this had crossed my mind, business had been tough for about six months. I was getting clients off Elance and occasionally had referrals, but they weren't the greatest quality and they liked to milk me for every minute. Even outside the project scope. ^Good related article: 5 Reasons to Dump Your Clients So, after 6 months of barely being able to fully book my time and Maja's time (my social marketer - click here for her AWESOME guest post,) I decided to invest a little bit of money into my clients to see if I could get some better quality referrals and more business.
It's very simple. It builds relationships. I had never given anything back my clients, but when I walked into Starbucks and purchased $70 in $5 gift cards, I had a feeling that people would appreciate it. That feeling was right. The first week, I sent out 10 hand-written (basically, copy & paste in my head) letters with 5 business cards and the $5 Starbucks gift card. (Total cost = $6) Within 7 days, I gained my first referral client, who turned into about $1,200 of sales. (Pretty nice for a $6 investment) About 2 weeks after that, I gained another amazing referral. To my great fortune, she ended up being a talent developer from New York, who referred upwards of $2,000 in clients to me. (Plus, 80% of them recur for several hundreds bucks per month to my outsourced services.) Since using this method, I've gotten the largest clients my business has ever seen. Even people who have been on massive networks like CNN, ABC, Fox, and a bunch of other networks. All because I built great relationships with my clients using great customer service & this simple method. Side-Note: When you write a letter, it's important to ask for referrals. People always told me "the world belongs to those who ask." I completely agree with it. (This is what my setup looked like)
Write something along the lines of: "[Client Name], I just wanted to personally write you this letter to thank you for your business and let you know that it has been a pleasure working with you. As a token of my appreciation, I here's a $5 Starbucks gift card to fuel your late nights and early mornings! I also sent a few business cards and would greatly appreciate any referrals! To Your Success, [Your Name]" It's simple, to the point and shows that you personally put time into thanking them. Here's a breakdown of what you need: [box type="note" width="400px" ] - Envelopes ($5.19 for 40) - Stamps ($.49 each) - Paper ($6.69 for 150) - Business Cards - $5 Starbucks Gift Card [/box]
Regardless of your current business state, show your clients you care. When I first began my career (freelancing,) I did everything I could to stand out. The result? I made a killing and immediately went from being jobless to making more money than an average 21-year old normally makes. Sending your clients a hand-written letter with business cards & a nice gift card helps build a better relationship,will greatly increase your business’ reputation and will ultimately bring more clients. Are there any tips & tricks you’ve used to get referrals & build better relationships with clients? P.S. If you don’t think you have the money for a $6 investment, then check out how to book yourself solid in 1 step.