Taking Care of Your 20%: Taking Care of Your Top Clients with Christine Yodsukar
The old 80/20 rule states that 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. In business, this means that 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients, so it makes sense that we should take extra special care of our clients. Look back through all of your clients from 2017. Who were your best clients? They could be the ones who spent the most with you, the ones who worked with you the most frequently or the the ones who spent an okay amount with you but were the exact people or companies you want to work with. These are the ones you want to pay special attention to. Here are some ways to take care of your 20 percent.
Business Is Personal
I have found over the years that the longer I build my business relationships with people and companies, the more our personal relationships grow. I used to think this was wrong and unprofessional, but it has actually become a huge part of my business relationships. Get to know the people you are doing business with. Keep jokes and conversations appropriate, but allow yourself to connect with them on a human level. Everyone is trying to do their best at life, and we all want real human connection.
It makes a huge impact when you personally deliver things to clients who live within driving distance. It makes them feel special and shows that you go above and beyond for them. Deliver their artwork orders, holiday gifts and even a bottle of champagne to celebrate their purchase of a new home, the start of a new business or a landmark birthday.
For clients who are not local, you can hire someone to do the personal delivery for you. For my clients in Los Angeles, I hire a friend and fellow photographer to deliver artwork. Some of my clients have seen her multiple times and feel like she is just as much a part of the Yodsukar family as I am, so they look forward to seeing her. Nothing says you value someone like giving them your time.
The Phone Call Check-in
Social media has made people lazy. A phone call just to say hi is a rarity and a welcome change from texting and messaging. I love calling my past clients to check in on them and see how they are doing. If they bought artwork from me over the past year, I ask them how they are enjoying it. Their excitement is the best feeling in the world.
I also like to call my clients if I hear that they have gone through a hardship recently. Even if they are unable to talk or answer the phone, just knowing you cared enough to actually call has a huge impact. People never forget how a person makes them feel.
Thoughtful and Extravagant Gifts
Gifting is a way to show your clients you’re thinking of them. You can give gifts as a thank you, for the holidays and to celebrate something big and exciting happening in their business or life. Extravagant gifts speak for themselves. Bottles of expensive champagne and luxury spa gift certificates are two examples of gifts that make clients’ jaw hit the floor. It should be a gift they wouldn’t normally purchase for themselves.
Many of my in-person sales sessions happen online because so many of my clients are not local. But for my best out-of-town clients, I fly to them and do the sales session in their home. They are unbelievably appreciative and understand that I do not do this for everyone. Going the extra mile for them (or extra thousand miles) shows how much my team and I value them.
Thoughtful gifts are just as impactful as extravagant gifts because they show time and energy were used to pick out the gift, rather than simply swiping a credit card. One of our wedding couples loved to joke about the fact that he drinks cosmos and she drinks whiskey neat. We got them a custom cocktail glass engraved “HIS” and a whiskey glass engraved “HERS.” They posted a photo of the glasses with the caption “The best news a silly couple can get when they shoot their in-no-way-serious engagement photos? Photographers who show up with a gift that proves they GET IT. If you’re getting hitched, hire the Yodsukars for your photos. You won’t regret it.”
Give a Little to Get a Lot
It’s all well and good taking care of your top 20 percent clients, but how do you get these clients in the first place? I’ve snagged many of my top clients by giving my time or my talent before they gave me their business. I worked for free or at a lower rate than normal to get in the door.
In september 2017, I ran a promotion offering free portrait sessions to celebrate my husband’s birthday. One job I booked during that promotion turned into two sessions at a total of $9,000. We landed a company client that we now work with monthly by approaching them about a video we were doing about their product, and wanting to know if there was anything specific they would like me to include. They asked for a meeting, and the rest is history. We continue shooting videos for them.
To get valuable new clients, you have to believe in yourself and the value you can bring to them.
Let Your Problem Customers Go
To free up your time and energy so you can focus on your top 20 percent clients, you might need to let some clients go. The ones to let go are the problem customers. You know the ones: They have endless issues with you and the work you do, they require two or three times as much attention as your other clients and what you put into the relationship doesn’t seem to outweigh what you get out of it. It’s time to let them go. This allows you to focus more on your best clients, the ones bringing you 80 percent of your business.
Personal connections will never go out of style. Showing your clients that you care about them as people and not just as clients goes a long way. Dumping your problematic clients will free up valuable time and resources that you can devote to your best clients—and your best clients will bring in more clients just like them.
Find ways to add personal touches and enrich your professional relationships to grow your business and make the work you do so much more enjoyable.