Clients are fundamental to the success of our business, yet we often focus on the project and forget that clients are people AND it is they that will bring us future interesting work. We often do brilliant work for a client, yet let the relationship slide after the project is finished. When the client is thinking about their next project and which consultants they should be taking to, we want them to be thinking about us. It is no longer enough to just be technically brilliant but we also need to continuously remind the clients of our continuing presence and support of their businesses.
So how do you make sure that your clients remember you (in a positive way!) when it comes to needing a consultant? Well, it’s all about how memories are formed:
Frequency: we remember people we see on a regular basis. The clients you interact with on projects remember you (for now) because they see you often. The challenge is to keep up regular communication between projects. Social media may be able to help you here, with posts on LinkedIn, following a client on twitter and retweeting their tweets, or even better, old fashioned catch ups face to face.
Recency: a client will remember you if they have seen you or heard from you recently. This is mostly why it’s good to go to networking functions and the like, but more importantly why it’s important to keep in touch with your clients between projects, as above. Don’t let months or years go past without making contact.
Intensity: strong emotion helps us form lasting memories. You don’t need to be the creator of the strong emotion, just be around when it’s happening. Ideally the good memories, so for example being there when your client wins an award and making sure that you congratulate them, walking round a newly finished building and reminding the architect what you did to help them make it so awesome, being at the project celebratory drinks, sending them a card to congratulate them on a win etc. Being the person who helped a client when things were going wrong and they were feeling distressed will also help them remember you; you just need to make sure that you remind them how happy you were to have helped, rather than letting the lasting memory be of the stress.
The last point is also why when you go home at night you shouldn’t immediately whinge to your partner about what a terrible day you have had; it creates a negative emotion for them associated with seeing you. Instead try starting the conversation with the best or funniest thing that happened to you today and see what effect this has on how you feel.