You probably dream of having a Calendly full of consultations and a waiting list of people who are dying to work with you. (“Uh, yeah, Christina, but how the heck do I get there?”)
It can be really hard to envision the path from where you are right now to being booked solid, especially if you’re in your first year of business or you’ve only worked with a handful of clients.
So here’s my big secret for you today: If you serve your existing clients REALLY, REALLY well, they will pass your name to everyone they know.
Hands down, one of the best ways to build a profitable and sustainable business is through word of mouth referrals. So, if you want to grow to #bookedout status, you should do these four things for your current clients.
How to create a client experience that leads to referrals
1. Get organized.
Business owners who are looking to outsource a piece of their business don’t have time to waste. Be sure that your client experience, from beginning to end, is streamlined, easy, and always productive from the client’s point of view.
Your consultation, welcome, and onboarding process should be smooth. It’ll show that you have your act together and that you take your own business seriously. (They need to trust you with their business, so anything you can do to demonstrate — show, not tell — that they are safe in your hands is a big win.)
Pro Tip: I love Honeybook* (that's an affiliate link, fyi) for client management! In one system, I can send proposals and contracts, accept payments, and send messages back and forth with my clients. It not only saves me time from the administrative hassle, but it also gives my clients a seamless experience.
#Truthbomb: All that time you’re spending on Facebook and Instagram would be better spent perfecting your client experience.
2. Send your clients gifts.
Let your clients know that they’re on your mind with handwritten thank you cards, birthday notes, or even a completely random gift card to Starbucks. If you’re a product-based business, this could mean something extra in the delivery box, like a pencil that pairs with their notebook, or an ink pad for their new stamp.
These thoughtful touches are small but go a long way. They show that you’re truly appreciative of their investment in you. Another great time to send a surprise is when you’re celebrating the end of a project.
3. Provide amazing service.
This one is a big ol’ obvious DUH, but it cannot be understated. Make life easier or better for your client, and he or she will be eternally grateful. It’s not enough to do your best work in the first week of your project, it needs to continue throughout your relationship.
Consistency is important for building trust, and trust is what leads to referrals. Show up, do your best work, don’t miss deadlines, and keep communication clear and regular. Let them know what's going to happen before it happens. Walk them through the process of working with you, so they know what is normal (and what's not). They'll trust you so much more! Pro Tip: Make sure your services are clearly outlined, so that they know what to expect and you can create an organized plan to deliver on it.
4. Exceed their expectations.
Find ways to add a little extra. If you’re a product-based business, this could be super fast shipping with a personalized card inside.
Service-based businesses can win big here by taking initiative to go above and beyond: Get your project done a week early, pull through on a “I don’t think we’ll be able to meet this deadline” assignment, and just genuinely be awesome to work with!
Growing your business doesn’t have to be about getting on the first page of Google, paying for Facebook ads, and doing loop giveaways. Thank the people who invested in you first, and you’ll be rewarded.
How do you deliver a WOW experience for your clients? Share in the comments.
Want help creating the perfect client experience? Take the Client Mindset Challenge today.