The Retain and Gain
It’s a dark and rainy day here in Atlanta, the weather is changing, and now that summer has come to a close, I guess it’s really time to get back to work. This fall we have a number of exciting projects we are really looking forward to, but at the same time, actively thinking about how to continue to bring in new clients. We were fortunate enough to be able to hire a new team member this season, Marissa Crowe, to enhance our current roster. While everyone on our staff wears many hats, her focus will be on sales and design.
While we go through the motions here at the office, it sparked this week’s blog post. So let’s refresh ourselves on a strategy we call the “retain and gain”.
Top five suggestions:
1. It seems obvious, but you would be surprised with how many people forget the simplest step. Be very clear about what you’re selling! Make sure potential clients know about your services and what you charge. Clarity is your number one sales tool.
2. Reach out to all of the happy clients you’ve worked with in the last two years. Send them a friendly hello. Send some pictures of recent events you think they would be interested in. You do keep a list of your old clients, right? It’s a good idea to keep track something like their birthdays, too. Sending former clients birthday and holiday cards is a great way to leave a lasting and positive impression.
3. It’s also a good idea to call the hotels and other venues you’ve worked with in the last two years. You should keep in touch with banquet managers, too. Romance them even… take them out for dinner/drink.
4. Call wedding planners in your area as well. Yes, folks, wedding planners are an incredible source of referrals!
5. And finally, call other vendors. It’s important to form strong alliances with talented and reliable vendors. Establish a handshake agreement; promise to recommend each other to clients.
Truthfully, the first item on this list is still a struggle for us. We offer so many options, its tough to spread the word. I also find reaching out challenging; it’s a lot of work and you can get caught up in your own work. However, like eating well, pursuing new clients should be a daily practice.
What kind of response do you get when you call former clients, banquet managers, planners and other vendors? What’s your best source of new work? Referrals? Feel free to share your strategies below!
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