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Simple Ways to Build Your Client List and Strengthen Relationships

Peggy by peggy
business card exchange

Your clients—who are they and where are they? Meaning do you have access to a reliable client list? Other important questions to ask about your list may be: what system are you using to track clients? What information is included in regards to each client? How is the information organized?

There are many ways to maximize your lead opportunities by simply working with the client information you have and using it to build existing relationships as well as start new ones.

Storing client info using a reliable system

First, let’s be sure that you’re adding all your clients into a reliable system and tracking them using the best tool or method you can. Whether you are using Mailchimp, Curate, Total Party Planner, Caterease, etc., being able to access every prospect and client is vital. That way, you can view past emails, locate invoices and store conversations for you to reference. Strengthening relationships is that much easier when you can locate the important exchanges of information.

Generating new leads

Every business scenario you’re involved in is an opportunity for you to collect new client information. Let’s say you find yourself at a community board meeting. Interact with your peers and absorb as much pertinent information as you can. Maybe your delivery drivers are delivering to a big company. Crosstrain them to ask for admin cards. If you’re catering a huge fundraiser, raffle something off. Always, always ask for business cards.

 

Organizing your client list

 We often talk to caterers who have their client list hidden away in a desk drawer or other obscure location. Others have a stack of business cards lying around. Business Development may have their own list. You want to be sure your entire team is on the same page when they’re looking for information on a particular contact. Here are some helpful pro tips when it comes to organizing your client list:

  • Separate your list by prospect. List the profession or industry for each prospect. Hint: this will make it easier for targeting a specific audience.
  • Be sure to distinguish between the types of events you provide: wedding, corporate, social, residential, non-profit, etc. Hint: this will aid in efficient cross-selling.
  • Assign a specific team member to keep track of how the info is being filled, especially for sourcing purposes. Source examples: Referral, billboards, social media, sales calls, newsletter and blog. It’s as easy as pulling up a monthly report and filling in the missing columns.

 8 Things You Can Do With Client Info

Okay, so now that you’ve located your contacts, stored them into a reliable system and organized them, now is the time to use them. Relationships don’t build themselves. It’s important to remain friendly, helpful and relevant in your clients’ eyes. Here are eight ways to do so:

1. Implement email marketing

Email marketing is a great way for you to use your list. After you organize and categorize your handy dandy client list, you can now use it to target a specific audience. Make sure to provide them with info that is relevant to them.

Let’s say you have an all-day package menu. Send it to specific companies that are interested in training or hotels. Maybe you have a new holiday menu with a few upscale menu items. Send it to a list of your top clients of the year.

Pro tip: Be sure to optimize email for mobile usage. So many people look to their mobile device as their primary internet source.

Send Email Blasts to Clients

2. Recognize your clients

Remember that your clients are people with goals, families and lives. As always, that personal touch goes a long way! It feels good to be remembered with a small gesture or treat. Client relationships need what all relationships need—nurturing. Wish your clients happy birthdays. Send out those thank-you cards.

This may be your chance to really treat your most loyal clients, who may need something a little extra. Give them something that makes them feel good and gives back at the same time. A delicious pick-me-up can double as a contribution to an important cause.

Recognize Your Clients with a Gift That Gives Back

3. Write a newsletter

Oh wow, what can’t you do with your newsletter? From spotlighting exciting facets of your team and sharing new, delicious menu items to highlighting your community involvement, you can really raise that brand awareness and attract the audiences you want to attract. Send recipes, wine pairings, client favorites—keep that engagement going and show them who you are.

Send Newsletters to Clients

4. Ask for feedback

It’s always a good idea to gauge your clients’ experience. This lets your clients know you care about their input and opinions and seek to improve. When was the last time you sent out a survey and asked them about their most recent experience with you? Or asked them about what menu items they would like to see? Sending out an anonymous survey is a good way to determine what some of your hottest selling points are. And it lets your customers know their input is important.

Pro tip: A quick two-question survey you can execute is the NPS (Net Promoter Score)

5. Inspire them with new ideas

Maybe you just put together an amazing wedding or event. You put so much thought and creativity into it. Write about it! Don’t forget pictures. Share online. Tell your clients how you felt putting together this particular event. Your work can turn into some inspiring ideas for others.

6. Send them food trends, wedding trends, etc.

When you’re online, do you run across any videos or articles with information that might be relevant to your clients? Or what about research you’ve been working with that would showcase your own knowledge? We all are libraries of knowledge that we could be sharing with each other. Be sure to showcase the beauty of your events. Share visuals that make them feel the experience.

7. Shout out on social media

We love showing off our clients on social media. The projects we work on for and with them take a significant amount of time. Not only does sharing their project on Facebook or Instagram boost our confidence in our work, but it makes our clients look and feel good. Your clients share articles, and sometimes they write their own. Engage with their interests. Retweet. Send. Share the love.

Shout Out to Clients on Social Media

8. Invite them out for lunch or a client appreciation party

For real, when was the last time you invited a client out to lunch? Sat down in front of them and asked them about their kids? A lot of caterers don’t have time to take out every single one of their clients. We get it. Maybe throw an annual customer appreciation party. For example, weddings cost so much for people, and they’re some of our biggest revenue streams. Host a couples-only thank you event. We are in the catering business, after all. Let’s work our magic and bring people together.

As it turns out, it costs at least seven times more to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one. That’s because your new clients haven’t established that baseline of trust for your brand yet, which means that you will have to invest way more time and energy building the fire underneath your relationship. Though new customers are essential for growth, remember those who have stuck by your side when you were perhaps a little smaller and leaner. They know you better, and they are some of your biggest advocates. So maintaining their trust is necessary.

We hope this article has inspired you to test the strength of your relationships with your clients. If you want to share your client appreciation ideas with us or talk more about different initiatives, be sure to contact us.

 

Peggy
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