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Christmas, Clients & Business Strategy

Do you have a Christmas strategy? Or do you either ignore the opportunity to touch your clients or flippantly send them an email on Christmas Eve to confirm that you just don’t care?

Rule 1 of Business: Know your Clients

Any business is only as good as its client list [because that’s where the money comes from that pays to keep the lights on all year]. Knowing your clients allows for the development of strong relationships, it creates opportunity through the ability to preempt and read between the lines of their wants and needs… and it underpins your ability to retain clients in a hostile competitive landscape.

Not to mention their invaluable assistance through both formal and informal endorsement in the market.

Knowing Clients informs Touching Clients

The term touching is a marketing phrase that represents those moments in real life when you quietly touch someone on their arm or shoulder. It’s not bullying or shouting. These are the moments you get to speak quietly into their ear for no other purpose than to genuinely inform or consolidate your relationship.

Obviously, knowing clients and how they tick (their religion, marital status, political beliefs, affiliations and cultural values) informs the act of touching. You’re going to want to touch them on appropriate occasions in the appropriate ways. In other words, you don’t send a bottle of Malt Whiskey to a Mormon or a special Bible to an Atheist. And you don’t send any client that apron the guys thought might be funny at the office after party.

Maximising your Christmas Business Strategy

You have a number of options to maximise the effectiveness of your Christmas strategy but here’s some food for thought.

First, I’d see if there might be any obvious compartmentalisation in my client list – clients who spent under $5,000 may not require the same attention as the client’s who brought in more than $10,000 or over $50,000. I’d look at making at least three levels of client appreciation that I’d be interested in passing on.

Those under $5,000 who were one-time clients will receive a greeting card with a special thankyou. Pinned into that card will be something that says our business appreciates their work and we look forward to any future contact in the new year. Basically though, it’s a thankyou card… not a Christmas card [because I probably don’t know their religion or political opinion about Christmas].

Those under $5,000 who were repeat customers receive the same card, the same greeting… and a $20 gift voucher card. The risk is in being seen as tacky… so the more you know about that client the better. This voucher card could be towards coffee or music downloads or something relevant to their likes and desires.

Where I say $20… I mean whatever you deem to be appropriate for that genuine touch on their arm. Insert in that card what you think might amuse them… a joke if they have a sense of humour… or something that personally fits your connection. These are your repeat clients who might grow to be even more valuable over time.

Big Spenders and High Rollers are Treated Appropriately

Those over $5,000 and under $10,000, whether repeat clients or one-off work, will receive a thankyou card and a follow-up telephone call to reinforce the contribution they’ve made to the business. This is an opportunity to touch clients and its not a bad time to send them a personalised gift.

Some people enjoy a bottle of whiskey… others would enjoy a premium bag of coffee beans… or that beanbag they laughed about in your office one-time. As you can see, there’s more to knowing clients than filling in time reports and taking their money.

Those over $10,000… if possible… make an appointment to visit them at their place of business… take the card and shake their hand to say thankyou for their contribution to your business. Hand them the bottle of whiskey or those coffee beans in person.

You Need to Develop a Strategy of your Own

At the same time, remember this lays the groundwork for next year’s expectations and you’re going to have to be flexible and work on the power of those relationships over the long term. Dealing with your own client list might necessitate an entirely different strategy, too. This article is simply to get you thinking about it for next year… way in advance.

And be genuine. There’s no fooling a client if you’re just out there marketing. Learn about them, develop relationships and follow your instincts. After all, it’s really hard not to like someone who genuinely likes you. Become genuinely likable.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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