Building relationships is the cornerstone of my business. It's how I measure success. Yes, I am in business to create custom decor; however, building lifelong relationships with my clients, will allow my business to grow. When I meet a client, I am looking to create a relationship that will go from wedding to baby shower to first birthday to 25th anniversary! I want to be the first person you think about when you decide to celebrate a special event in your life! How do I do that? Here are five tips that serve me well:
- Become a resource. I know that I will not be able to serve every client. I know that I will not provide decor for every person who calls; however, if I can put you in touch with someone who can meet your needs, whether it be a caterer, a photographer or a venue, I've done my job. I've made myself a resource for you and you are likely to call me in the future.
- Stress the small stuff. I listen and take notes when I am talking to a client. When they mention randomly that they have a 12 year old named Sally who adores Cinderella, I make a note of it and put it in their file. Perhaps I'll hear that Cinderella the musical is in town, (which it is - next week in Tampa - My daughter and I saw it on Broadway last July and absolutely loved it); therefore I may email my client and say, "Hey! Just wanted to shoot you a quick email to say hi and let you know that Cinderella, the musical is playing at the Straz Center in downtown Tampa; I'm sure Sally would be thrilled to see it!" This would create excitement for the child. It would also send a message to the client that I care and I listen. That's a small example of making a big impact!
- Go above and beyond. Always do more than the client ever expects. Go above and beyond the call of duty when you can. You won't be able to do this all the time, in fact, if you do it too often it may not be as special; but if you choose the right time to go big, your will your client will be appreciative and you bet your bottom dollar, they will tell their friends!
- Bring back the honeymoon phase. Many times, after the event is over, you stop communicating with your client. In the beginning, during the consultation phase, you were the best of friends, you talked all the time and shared ideas constantly. Then you got comfortable and it was business as usual. After the main event, you may never talk again. Why is that? Why not reach out after the event and say, " Hi!". Why not send them a picture from Pinterest and say, "planning an event, saw this and thought of you, I hope all is well." That would spark communication and keep you front and center in their mind.
- Handwritten notes. I love to send handwritten notes to a client. Handwritten letters and cards are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, but I refuse to let the art die! One of the things I enjoyed when I first got married 13 years ago (on 10/21) that I still enjoy to this day; are the love notes and cards that my husband gives me on occasion. A few months ago I attended a Working Women of Tampa Bay event and met a lady named Christine for the first time. A few days later, I received a card in the mail. The front of the card said, "It was very nice to meet you!" I was so impressed. I was so happy. It made me feel special and it's still sitting on my desk months later!
Building relationships is more important sometimes than making money. A close friend once said, "Better to establish a strong relationship than to charge someone for what would probably be a minimal amount of time. We live in a small town, people remember things. Our business has been built on relationships and I think that is how businesses succeed."
I hope you found this information to be valuable. If you have a few tips of your own, comment below or post your tips on our Facebook page. The more we share, the more we grow. The more we grow, the more successful we become!
I wish you the best! Now go and build relationships!