I recently received a call from one of my long-time hosting clients. I had submitted a website design proposal to this client more than a year ago, but the time wasn’t right for them back then to have LRS do their web site design. However, frequent, friendly contact, plus support and guidance over the past year, finally paid off and we have been asked to design their site.
Another client whom I originally “met” October 26, 1998 to discuss a site design, is finally ready to get started as well. In our initial conversation back then, I explained our services, the design process, and some creative ideas about how we could design his planned site. Well, the client wasn’t ready then, but he kept in contact every other month or so, updating me on his progress in negotiations with a MAJOR retailer. They finally closed the deal and my client is now free to promote his products and services (under a different name, of course) on his own site.
Why, after seven months and exposure to many other good design firms, did this client still choose to come back to LRS? Only my client can really answer that, but I can venture to guess a few possible reasons:
I respected his “reason” for why he had to wait. Customers don’t always throw you a line of bull just to avoid saying “Yes” to your proposal. You should assume that they are just as honest as you are when they give you a reason….not an excuse. This client truly couldn’t do anything with his website until his business deals were in place. If I had constantly called him to push him to buy our services, not only would it probably have driven him nuts, but it would certainly have driven him AWAY from my services. Yes, that seems to go against everything we’ve been taught about follow-up doesn’t it? But I believed my client, I understood his unique business challenges, and I respected his wishes, so I waited for him to contact me.
I have to admit, however, that had I been “hard up” for design jobs I may have been tempted to take the initiative on occasion to follow up myself to see how things were progressing. You certainly can’t blame a business person for trying to stay afloat.
But there is another reason, explained to me by the client himself, for coming back to my services. He said he was watching me all those intervening months through my newsletter. He was seeing what we were doing and what we were offering, and closely examining the other sites we had done. He wanted his site done right the first time, and his observation of our services and our results on other clients’ sites gave him the assurance that we are the ones to do his site for him 🙂
That experience can only emphasize the importance of establishing a regular, open, public form of contact with each of your clients. A newsletter or ezine is the best way to accomplish this. You aren’t intruding on your potential clients or hounding them with follow-ups. up. Done correctly, a newsletter/ezine can be one of the best ways to keep in contact with all those who want you to contact them.
The moral of this article is just this:
Be patient….be helpful….but most of all, just be there. Be there to answer questions. Listen to client challenges and offer to try to help solve them. If you offer quality products and/or services, and you have some sort of interesting, nonintrusive way to stay in contact with clients, they WILL come back. When THEY are ready!
*This article written by Lisa Schmeckpeper of LRS Marketing and published in their free newsletter, Website Success Monthly. To receive a free copy of this informative e-zine just send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at www.lrsmarketing.com. Copyright 2000 [LRS Marketing]. All rights reserved.