By GAPS • August 28, 2018
Clienteling is a word for a simple strategy that has been around for a very long time (even though spell check doesn’t recognize it yet!). The word suggests a revival of the “old fashioned” way of doing business: building personal relationships with each client, staying in touch regularly, writing thank you notes, remembering birthdays and family events. The practice made a comeback in the luxury retail sector some years ago, and now, professionals across more lines of retail along with other industries are realizing the value of clienteling and incorporating it into their business model. This disruption in the way to do business is perfectly suited for the recruiting industry too and is a great way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack.
More and more recruiters are moving away from the old way in which we were taught to get the job order as soon as possible and opting instead to develop a strong foundation for a continuing business relationship. If you think about your own experiences interacting with other businesses that support you, whether personal or professional, you’ll agree - we’re all looking for that great customer experience. This approach operates on that same theme and is disrupting the way people do business across the spectrum. To think, it all harkens back to the "good ol' days!"
It starts with the little things. As you get to know a client, keep a record of everything you learn about them, in both the business and the personal realms. It will become impossible to track the valuable information you are learning about your client without keeping a diary of sorts, so organization is key. With each contact, refer back to this information and use what you have learned to inform your approach. You can do things as simple as sharing an article you know they would be interested in or sending a handwritten note with a gift card to share a ‘virtual’ coffee if you can’t meet face-to-face. Maybe there’s an exceptional administrative assistant who has helped you get through to the boss and should be thanked. These little random acts of kindness go a long way to keep your client feeling happy and listened to.
The key is to always maintain good, consistent communication. It can become difficult to stay in touch with a long list of contacts, but a few minutes spent writing a nice note or on a quick phone call just to say ‘Hi!’ can pay off hugely down the road. Reliable, concise and pleasant communication is the key to successful clienteling.
While clienteling is not an unestablished strategy, there are many ways to do it well. Do not be afraid to try new things and disrupt the way that you have been working. Branching out and attempting new and different methods can be critical in maintaining client relationships in a manner that suits you. Again, record-keeping is critical here. Track your ideas, acquired knowledge, attempts and outcomes in order to avoid making the same mistakes.
Implementing clienteling into your practice requires effort and is not always easy, but it is well worth it. Not only will you increase revenue and loyalty, you will also find that you’ve developed more satisfying relationships that really last. The most important difference will be in knowing you are one step ahead of your competition!