5 Ways To Grow An Existing Client Account
We're constantly looking for new clients.
Some would say that's a primary focus... especially when you're starting a new business. We need clients to keep our business running.
But, what many people don't understand is that it's ten times more expensive, in both time and money, to go out and find a new client versus working to grow an existing client.
This is a statistic my marketing manager said to me when I was in my corporate job. I thought he was totally nuts when he said this. BUT, as I ran my business I began to notice the time and money I was spending on client acquisitions. It was a lot!
Over time, I started to realize that I could put my effort into building my existing relationships and growing accounts over time. This would eventually lead to more stable income, stronger relationships, and a more reliable business.
When I think about the idea of growing a client account, one particular client comes to mind. She is an digital product creator and I've been working with her for two and half years now and I have no intention of stopping our work together.
BUT... I didn't always feel that way.
How this account started
I still remember the day I found this client. I'll be the first to say that if I looked at her today, I may not jump a the opportunity, which would be a big mistake!
An acquaintance of mine actually tagged me in a "jobopp" post on this woman's Facebook page. If you can believe it, I saved the post I was tagged in:
As you can see, she was looking for a part-time Virtual Assistant to help her with some admin work on a very limited amount of hours. At first, I thought to myself: "This isn't what I do. I don't think this is for me."
I then proceeded to scroll through her Facebook and soon realized she had a really loyal following, amazing products, and her overall presence could be described as a ray of sunshine.
I honestly remember the blog post that completely switched my mindset. It was all about the best natural linen products you could have in your home. It has nothing to do with selling digital products, but I loved her recommendations and immediately became a fan of hers.
So, I filled out the application form. And let me tell you, I TOOK TIME on this application form. I probably spent at least an hour going through her questions and really working to stand out from the dozens of people I KNEW she would hear from.
I just had this feeling about her and I knew I had to do my best to win her as a client.
A few days later, we met for coffee and bonded over tv shows and books. A few days after that, she became my client. I don't think I've ever been more excited about a new client... even to this day.
We started small... like, really small
If you look back to the original post I responded to, we started at 1.5 hours per day, and sometimes less.
I did inbox management and back end tasks that I had no experience doing and frankly didn't love. BUT, again, I knew I wanted to work with her and I knew there was potential for growth.
Even I could see where her business was headed and I just wanted to be along for the ride.
Holy f*** was a right.
When we first started working together in September 2018, this was her first invoice:
Like I said, we started small. A couple hundred dollars every two weeks.
Here's the thing...
We're no longer at a couple hundred dollars every couple weeks.
Over the course of the next two years, I took on more and more responsibilities in her business. I made recommendations and became someone she always turned to as another valued brain in her business.
I grew to treat her business like my own and truly care about whether or not we were successful.
As a results, we are heading into 2021 with this invoice:
Yep, that's a 670% increase over the course of 2.5 years.
This all happened because I CHOSE to take a chance on an opportunity I felt strongly about AND put in the work to develop our relationship and help her build her business.
She is not my longest standing client, my largest client, and frankly, the most important... and not because of the money.
We now exchange Christmas and birthday gifts. We both got each other Schitt's Creek themed gifts for Christmas this year, which is hysterical.
We pick up the slack for one another when the other is overwhelmed or struggling. We share personal stories and information because we truly enjoy sharing things with one another.
We help each other out in areas where we know the other knows more. She's such a data driven person and I'm more content driven.
It's all because I was tagged in a post that didn't seem like a good fit but I gave it a shot anyways. AND, I spent two years busting my butt to grow her account to where it is today.
With all that said, I want to share five ways you can grow accounts in your own business while also making sure you take chance on opportunities that may not look like much on the surface.
1. Go with your gut
There is never a better time to go with your gut than when you're thinking about working with a client or pursuing an opportunity.
You genuinely have to ask yourself how you FEEL about the opportunity.
Is it something that makes you feel good?
Does it get you excited?
Is there potential for more?
If you look at more than just the post or the opportunity, what does the business tell you, stand for, etc?
What else could you help them with and would you be excited to aid in other areas?
Ask yourself questions versus only looking at the opportunity and saying "yes" or "no". Give your gut an opportunity to guide you because sometimes the information in front of you just isn't enough.
I had to do some digging in order to discover more about my client's business. Once I did, I was hooked. I NEEDED to be part of her journey.
Her post didn't get me excited, but her overall business sure did!
2. No bailing!
You need to remember that growing accounts takes TIME! This isn't going to happen overnight, in a week, in a few months. It could take a year or two for an account to grow to where you want it to be.
So, be patient.
Remember that you and your client may not always agree. They may frustrate you and cause you to doubt your entire partnership. It doesn't mean you should bail! It often means the opposite.
I actually had a business coach tell me I should stop working with this client. She told me that if this client gave me any kind of negative feelings then she wasn't worth my time.
I no longer work with this coach.
There is a big push in the online space to ONLY have positive things in your life. If something gets hard or makes you feel negatively, then you should get rid of it. I completely disagree with this because there is a difference between growing pains and toxicity. You need to recognize when either of these are happening to you.
If your client is toxic to you, then chop them. If you're experiencing growing pains, stick with it!
The keyword here is "growing". Growth is never easy, so don't bail when these growing pains happen. There are opportunities on the horizon!
3. Over-deliver on customer service
I fu***ed up.
It happens. People make mistakes and we have to own up to them.
This client was going through a launch and I made a boo-boo! She was partnering with to other entrepreneurs to create a KILLER bundle for Black Friday and when it came time to launch the promo podcast episode, I launched the wrong one.
It took followers of theirs pointing out that the episode was wrong in order for me to realize the mistake.
Oh man, my stomach was in my throat and I was NOT HAPPY about this mistake. This was a product LAUNCH and the effing episode advertising the launch was wrong.
I got an email from my client about it and it was fixed within ten minutes. This included editing the real episode and getting it up. I then called my client directly to explain what had happened and to let her know everything was fixed.
She was talking about this "next level service" weeks after.
THIS is the kind of service your clients need to see if they're going to trust you with larger parts of their business.
Don't be afraid to step up and make them feel like they're a priority because they are.
4. Offer ideas and recommendations
Don't just be someone who completes tasks and signs off for the day. Be someone who cares about their business and shows that you're paying attention.
Do you see a gap in their social media strategy?
Is there a backend system that could make their business run smoother?
Did you notice a comment from someone asking for a particular piece of content?
Is there an industry trend that you've noticed?
TELL YOUR CLIENT about these things.
You would be surprised by how much they love ideas, recommendations, updates, etc. Not to mention the value you start to build in their eyes because you took the time to not only gather the information, but also deliver it to them.
Making recommendations doesn't have to be something you do all the time. But it should be something you try to do whenever you actually notice something.
If you see you client still scheduling meetings manually, then recommend a tool like Calendly, AND offer to do the setup.
If they're struggling to come up with content ideas, offer them some solutions to minimize their need for NEW ideas. Maybe they have past content that can be repurposed. AND offer to go through the backlog to find the right content for them.
Do you see how these recommendations now only help the client make improvements but also allows you to take on more and grow the account?
So, don't hesitate to recommend solutions and ideas.
5. Be the first to put up your hand
It's expensive to hire new people.
Your client has to actively look for someone new, train them, etc. This takes time and money that your client may not want to spend.
Ask yourself this:
If your client voices they need help with something, AND it's something you can help them with, why not offer to take it on so they save time and money?
Doesn't it sound like a total disservice if you DON'T offer your help?
I would definitely consider that a disservice!
The reality is, your client's business is going to grow and evolve. It's your job to grow and evolve with them. When they voice a new opportunity, put up your hand and take that sh** on!
They already know and trust you, so chances are they will love the idea of just keeping everything under you.
So, if you hear things like:
I'm feeling so disorganized. I need someone to setup all my meetings and manage my calendar...
I hate posting on social...
My email marketing software is a total mess...
Put up your hand and offer to help with their problem. This is your JOB!
We are in the business of helping people and removing pain. Don't be afraid to do your job!
The moral of the story...
Not all opportunities will look amazing and exciting.
Sometimes you have to dig for more information and take a chance.
Putting in time and effort to grow existing accounts WILL lead to more money, opportunities, and better relationships, which is a win for everyone.
Want to save time and unnecessary headache, while also "wowing" clients into working with you? Snag one of my easy to use templates so you can create proposals and onboarding content for your new clients with ease!
My signature 1:1 coaching program, Sold Out Services, if for aspiring and current entrepreneurs who hate all the guesswork and low income months, and are ready for clarity and their version of success!