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Farming Your Client Base

Before I get into this subject let me ask you something, how much time and effort is required by you to secure the work of a new customer?

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Before we get into the topic of customer relationship management, do you know how much time and resource is required to secure a new customer?

There have been many studies on the variances of ‘farming’ versus ‘hunting’ for customers. Farming is the practice of looking within your existing customer base for new sales. Hunting is the opposite, it is the process of securing new customers. Now think how much time and effort does it require to win the work from an existing customer versus that spent on new customers.

It’s easier, takes less time and resource to sell to an existing customer than it does get new sales from a new client.

Why is this? The answer is quite simple, your existing clients already know you, and if they are coming back to you, they also trust you. They also have an excellent idea of what you do, what your products are like and what level of service they can expect for their money all of which a new customer must try and establish before that first purchase.

So if this is the case, why should you farm them?

Farming is all about building and maintaining a good healthy relationship with your customer to ensure you are up to date with their business needs and just as important, they are up to date with your products and services.

Generally speaking, a well-informed customer is a happy customer; a happy customer is a loyal customer, and that is the holy grail of business, having a base full of satisfied, loyal customers.

So what is farming? Let me give you a literal example:

  • First we plough the fields (we identify the customer).
  • We sow the seeds (we introduce our product/service).
  • We nurture and grow the crop (we build the rapport and relationship and identify exactly how we can help their business)
  • We harvest the crop (we complete the sale).
  • We plough the fields again (we continue to provide great service & support).
  • We sow the seeds (we continually update them with new products/promotions).
  • We nurture and grow (we continue to see how we can help their business).
  • We harvest the crop (we complete another sale).
  • We plough the fields again (we continue to provide great service & support).

…. and so the cycle continues.

How do we farm the Client Base?

As a small business, there are some very cost-effective ways of farming your client base, here are a few to get you thinking:

Visits

Communication is the best way you can farm your customers. Some clients will require regular in-person meetings, whereas others will be happy that you emailed, texted or called them.

All contact with customers should be well organised in advance insofar as your objective, and what you want to get from it.
Go to the meeting prepared, ask them how your product/service as been helping their business, find out if there is anything else you can help them with then talk about your reason for calling.

Newsletter

A regular email newsletter can help keep your business front and center in the minds of your customers. Use it to introduce new products and services, share knowledge and interesting news and views.

Blogging

Your blog is where all your company updates and relevant news and views should reside. Write a blog post every week on a topic that interests you and your clients. Share the article to your social media profiles, and you can also use these posts in your newsletter. Just add a title, a couple of sentences and a click-through link to your email subscribers and read more on your website.

Entertainment

Take your clients out for a coffee or lunch and also consider a company event for customers. A social gathering will probably be the most expensive option. Still, it’s perfect for communicating with a captive audience and can be great for getting referrals, especially if you ask them to bring along one of their associates.

Golf competitions, work dinners, inviting critical clients to a charity function, the options are limitless and restricted only by your imagination or your budget.

Summary

Whatever you do, it makes absolute business sense to farm your client base.   Have a plan to do it using various strategies including meetings, entertainment and with high-quality content on your blog and in your newsletter.    There are many ways to sell too and it may not be with your existing products or services.

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