We are living in the service age. Every buyer wants services to be delivered better, faster and at the lowest possible cost. Our clients are not looking for “adequate” service or even “good” service- they are looking for firms that can surprise them with exceptional service. Clients want to feel as though they are getting an experience from your firm and that you are proactively thinking of beneficial things for them that they may not have even known to ask for.You’ve heard the phrase, “little things mean a lot.” In the service age, little things don’t mean a lot- they mean everything. Failure is built by consistently neglecting to do the little things. Success is built the opposite way – by consistently doing the little things correctly. I’d recommend that you come up with a “Wow” system of a number of small steps that you will take to impress your clients. The list below should help you to get started.
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- Conduct a relevant survey: Your clients are interested in numbers, statistics and information. A survey provides value for them by allowing them to hear what is going on in their industry in a relatively unbiased way. It also allows you at least two points of contact with them; an initial call to conduct the survey and a follow up call or email to report on the results. Survey topics could include hiring trends, salary trends, industry hot topics etc.
- Take extra time to get to know them as a person: No matter how high tech our communication may become, nothing can take the place of a face-to-face meeting. How much do you know about your clients? Their backgrounds? Family life? Hobbies? If your competitor knows your client on a deeper level than you do, they will have a major advantage over you when it comes time to review their vendor list.
- Provide a newsletter that’s worth reading: If you produce a newsletter, make sure that is focused on content that is of interest to your client. Avoid the brag, brag and more bragging garbage that some firms produce and you will make a better impression.
- Offer to conduct a complimentary salary comparison for a prospect: Clients love this! I have several clients who call me annually and give me the names, titles and salaries for everyone in their group and ask me for my thoughts. I spend a short amount of time comparing their numbers to past assignments I’ve worked on, my candidate salaries and their competitors job postings. This extra care builds tremendous loyalty.
- Give a fun or personalized gift during the holidays: The more personal you can make this the better. I have a coaching client who is a recruiting firm owner who purchased a bunch of zip zap cars last Christmas, personalized them with his client’s logos, and then sent them as gifts. Department heads were racing these little cars down the halls and telling their co-workers about the recruiting firm that had sent these fun toys. Not a bad return for a $14 gift.
- Provide street level information on their competitors and trends: You know more than you may realize and this information is more valuable than you may think. For instance, do you know which of your client’s competitors are the most attractive to job seekers? Do you know the reasons for this? Which firms are getting ready to reduce their staff? Which are keeping staff happy and through what incentives? Offer to be your clients “eyes and ears” in the marketplace.
- Follow up regularly: Sounds simple but this is usually overlooked. It takes about 7 exposures to a new service before someone will purchase. Set up a follow up system to make it easy for your prospects buy from you when the time is right for them.
- Provide an automated way for your clients to access your resources: From job order submissions to a searchable candidate database to search status tools – what extra value can you provide here?
- Professional training: What can you train clients on? Interview techniques? “The top 10 interview questions they must ask,” “The top 10 things they should never do on an interview,” “7 ways to improve team cohesion,” etc. They will be inclined to see you as a close advisor if you have provided value-added training for them in the past. This also allows you to display your expertise in a non-sales environment.
- Send a birthday card with lottery tickets: Corporations can be stale and de-humanizing – put some life into your clients’ day with a simple card and a chance to get rich.