update-your-resume-annually-rachel-frenchA good client buys from you once. A great client buys from you more than once. A super great client buys from you more than once and tells people about you. A super-duper great client—your BEST client—is anyone who sends you a steady stream of warmed up referrals and prospects who are primed to become your clients!

So how are you treating THESE people? When you sit in your referral networking group or leads lunch, a room full of people who are trying to send business your way, are you treating each of them like a super-duper great client? Well, you should.

And here are 10 ways you can keep them thinking of you and sending you business:

  1. Keep in personal touch with them. Don’t just put them on your generic contact list. Pick up the phone regularly. Send them handwritten cards, and maybe even little gifts when appropriate. Keep them on a follow-up schedule that makes sense, and stick to it.
  2. Invite them to your events. Maybe even let them come for free. You can invite them to sponsor, but that’s different. Consider letting them mix and mingle without the hassle of sponsorship. And introduce them to everyone. Give them a plug, too. (What? You don’t hold events? Maybe you’d better start!)
  3. Figure out how to be of value and service to them. You know how when someone is grieving, you’re NOT supposed to say, “If there’s anything I can do, let me know”? You’re supposed to say, “I’d like to do [this] for you if it would be of help to you. May I do that?” Do the same thing for your best referral sources. Make them an offer they don’t want to refuse. Because if you ask them what they need, they might not be able to come up with something. YOU should do the heavy lifting of coming up with an idea and then offering it. (And if they accept, make sure you follow through!)
  4. Promote them in your own advertising and marketing. For free. Email blasts, flyers, on your website, cards in your office, whatever.
  5. Sign up for their email blasts. That way you’ll always know what they are promoting and who they’re targeting. Gives you a great way to make timely offers and make timely requests, too.
  6. Invite them to attend networking events with you. Let them know you’re out in the world rubbing shoulders with the right people and ask if they want to join you. Introduce them to everyone you meet and talk them up.
  7. Write testimonials to them. Don’t ask if they want one. Just write it. Put it on letterhead and send it to them. Put one on LinkedIn, one on Yelp!, one on Google+, and one anywhere else they find clients and get referrals.
  8. Ask them who they need to meet. Maybe their looking for new vendors, or employees, or partners. Ask them who they need and then try hard to facilitate warm introductions to the right people.
  9. Like and share their stuff on social media. They’ve put effort into writing that Facebook post or LinkedIn article, so don’t just read it. Like it, comment on it, and share it to help them get exposure to your connections as well.
  10. Thank them for every referral, whether it results in closed business or not. Thank them in whatever way is meaningful to THEM. It doesn’t have to be money! Express genuine appreciation—that’s the most important thing.

Actually, here’s #11: Treat every referral with the utmost respect and grace. Even if they send you a cranky, terrible, cheap jerk who will never, ever buy from you, make sure you handle yourself in a way that is beyond reproach. Follow up on every referral (or they’ll quit sending them to you) and close the loop by making sure they know how it went. If it wasn’t a great match and you can explain why, do so, but tread cautiously. While you don’t want to be sent a bunch of prospects who are unqualified, you don’t want to offend your best client, either. So be clear, but be careful.

What would YOU add to this list?

photo credit: The Hand That Feeds via photopin (license)

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