Think back to your first pitch meeting with your longest-standing client. OMG, you were a bag of nerves.
Your palms were like wet wipes as you began the meeting, your tongue like cotton wool as you fumbled over your first few words.
But then, all of a sudden, the magic started to happen.
You saw your clients’ eyes light up when you began to tell them how you could help. They began to nod at you. Smile. Exchange knowing glances like you were really saying something powerful.
You were lit up like a sparkler on bonfire night – so persuasive, so charming, so interesting!
How they loved you! And when it came to the end, of course they said ‘yes’.
And how’s it looking now?
Fast forward a few years and let’s see how the relationship’s holding up.
Well, they’re still your client, and still happy with you (you think). You’re a bit like an old, married couple.
The relationship’s got cosy, comfortable even. No more flashy suits required. You don’t need to persuade them how great you are anymore, because they already know, don’t they?
You’re both quite happy sitting in your sweatpants on the sofa with an XL Pepperoni Passion (plus garlic dippers if you’re feeling ‘naughty’) discussing which bin you need to put out in the morning.
But your client still loves you, right?
You’re still that person they fell in love with, even though you’re a few pounds heavier and you choose your underwear for comfort not style these days. They’re not going anywhere…are they?
Or are they….?
Before you can say ‘elasticated waistband’ they’ve run off with Chad or Teri the buff gym instructor with the tight buns and the blinding white teeth and you’re left speechless wondering where it all went wrong. Oh no.
And I don’t want this to happen to you.
Did You Get Too Comfortable With Your Client?
I met a lady not long ago who worked for a large company who were the epitomy of pizza ‘n’ sweatpants. After years of working with a big client they’d suddenly been asked to repitch for their business against an army of competitors.
And they were worried.
Worried because they knew they had to up their game, but also terrified that they just didn’t know how to reignite the romance.
They’d been doing what they’d been doing for so long that the magic had all but disappeared.
My 4S Strategy For Reigniting The Romance
My advice to her? Well, I recommend my 4S strategy you want to win back a client’s affection:
Strive – clients like to feel that you’re going the extra mile for them and that they’re still top of your list even after all these years. So make sure you’re extra responsive, available in person and super keen at all times. Think back to that first meeting and try to be that sparkly person again (you know, before you got all comfortable).
Satisfy – when we’ve been in a relationship for a while, we can often assume that we know what the other party wants. We forget that things can shift over time. So, make sure that you ask the right questions about what your client is trying to achieve and really listen to the answers. Their aims might be totally different from a year, six months or even six weeks ago. Don’t assume.
Surprise – we all love a surprise. That thoughtful gift. An unexpected thank you. A fresh solution to an old problem. Someone over-delivering on a project. A totally fresh point of view. Make sure you shake things up if you want to stay relevant. Make them see you in a whole new light.
Show – your clients might just need a reminder of why you’re so great and what they saw in you. So show them why you’re still worth it, don’t just tell them. Do something to impress – make a powerful introduction. Write a report with key insights into their industry.
So think about your clients and ask yourself if you’re taking any of them for granted….
Maybe you need to get off that couch, wipe off those crumbs and show them some love.