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Transform your consulting clients into lifetime customers and revenue

Get this guide on how to turn your consulting clients into lifetime customers. You can earn money from your consulting clients even after your contract ends.

November 26, 2019 by Cyn Meyer

Now that you’ve turned your online business idea into a reality, things are going well. 

You’ve been working alongside one of your top consulting clients, and both you and your client are happy with the results. 

There’s only one problem: your contract is ending.

Indeed, all good things must come to an end. Well, sort of. 

There are ways to keep your clients as lifetime customers even after your contract ends.

So before you panic, we’ve put together today’s four vital tips for renewing your contracts with consulting clients. 

Let’s first quickly run through why keeping your consulting clients on board is so essential to the survival of your business.

Why is retaining your consulting clients vital to your business?

It’s important to retain your consulting clients because -- let’s face it -- you need to continue to earn income. 

While it’d be great to afford a life where you can exclusively offer service pro bono, the majority of us need to know where our next paycheck is coming from.

Beyond the impending need to cover your bills, though, there are more benefits to renewing your client contracts. A major advantage is that it costs your business a lot less to find new clients than it does to keep your existing ones.

So much so that it’s 6-7x more expensive to attract new clients than it is to keep your current ones.

The longer you keep your clients on, the more they spend, too. The average customer spends 67% more in their third year of working with you than in their first.

Another reason why it’s vital to retain your current client roster is they’re a great business referral source. In fact, 65% of new business generally comes from clients who refer you. 

Referral business is likely more powerful than any other way you’re marketing your online business, including paid advertising. It’s reported that consumers rely on word-of-mouth referrals 2-10x more than paid media.

Seems worth the effort (and wait) to keep your clients over the long-term, right? We think so, which is why we’ve come up with four simple, though not always quick, ways to keep your consulting clients around for the long haul.

4 key ways to renew your consulting client contracts

#1. Focus on earning your client’s trust

Our first method for keeping your consulting clients on board is to earn their trust. 

Trust is in high demand. In fact, consumer expectations for trust increased a whopping 250% year-over-year across all brands and products and service categories.

Which means earning your client’s trust is a must.

One way to do this is to make sure you provide a positive product experience and customer service experience. If you don’t nail these two experiences, it could mean losing your client’s trust altogether.

81% of customers in the US would lose trust in a company that provides poor product experience, and 78% would lose trust due to poor customer service. 

But if that’s not enough, consider this: offering excellent customer service is ranked as the number one factor that impacts a consumer’s level of trust with a company.

Which is (probably) why companies see customer experience as the most exciting business opportunity for 2020, outpacing both content marketing and data-driven marketing.

Another way to keep your client’s trust is to be authentic, which is a characteristic that matters to an overwhelming majority of consumers. 

When deciding which brands to support, 90% of millennials say authenticity is important, and 85% of gen-Xers and 80% of boomers agree.

To increase your authenticity, try these tips:

  • Rather than deny them, acknowledge your weaknesses.
  • Be accountable and upfront when something’s not going well.
  • Forget about perfection and don’t pretend to be it.

Simply put, be direct and honest with your clients. No one wants to be misled. 

Another tip for earning your clients’ trust is to avoid presenting any unpleasant surprises, such as missed deadlines or going over budget. 

In other words, keep the promises that you make. 

As simple as it sounds, it has a significant impact on building trust. So significant that 58% of adults won’t trust a brand until they’ve witnessed “real-world proof” that a promise is kept.

On the topic of keeping promises, our next tip today goes above and beyond that.  

#2. Overdeliver your service to your consulting clients

Another powerful way to keep your consulting clients post-contract is to set expectations and deliver beyond what you promise. 

Put another way, delight your clients and go out of your way to provide them with added value.

CRM giant, HubSpot, prioritizes delighting the customer so much that they internally see it as everyone’s responsibility and on par with “attracting” and “engaging” their clients.

Overdelivering service to your clients means you need to be flexible and responsive to your customer requests, even if it means going outside of your normal service scope. 

One example of going above and beyond is Trader Joe’s, who went out of their way to deliver food to an 89-year-old man who was snowed in at his Pennsylvanian home during the holidays. 

The man’s worried daughter simply called a neighboring Trader Joe’s with the request to help her snowed-in (and hungry) father, and they, in a very literal sense, over-delivered. Food delivery is beyond the scope of the grocery’s standard service (much to this writer’s chagrin).

Another iconic brand that owns the skill of delighting the customer is Zappos. They handle customer service so well they’ve created an online course that teaches other companies how to delight their customers, called the School of Wow

An alternative way to wow your clients is to value their time. 66% of adults claim valuing their time is the most important thing you can do to provide a good client experience online. 

Rest assured, valuing your clients’ time doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as straightforward as providing an estimate for how long it takes to answer questions in an email autoresponder (and then meeting it) or offering live-chat hours.

(Which, by the way, you can do on Podia.)

Alternatively, you could take it a little further and productize it by offering a time-saving tool in the form of a digital download like Dewane Mutunga’s Solopreneur Business Tracker

Finally, on the note of overdelivering your promises, there’s a limitation you need to keep in mind. To overdeliver, you cannot take on more clients than you can handle. If you do, you’ll compromise the quality of your service and, ultimately, underdeliver instead.

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Speaking of going above and beyond for your clients, don’t stop at the services you provide -- make the education you offer just as enriching and overachieving.

#3. Educate your consulting clients

Another effective way to retain your clients is to educate them and share the latest best practices and updated knowledge related to your consulting service.

There are two main benefits to educating your clients:

  1. You position yourself as the expert in your field and become the obvious choice after your contract ends.
  2. You keep up with the most effective tactics and strategies as you research and educate yourself.

To educate your clients, you can simply share one of your profitable digital products with them, like Justin Lee’s Finding Purpose Guide.

Or you can create a book that shows off your expertise like Marcus Rideout, who authored the Video Selling Formula book, does.

Although these digital product examples are for sale, you can -- and should -- also offer free educational content.

One simple way to provide valuable free content to your client base is to post regularly to your blog and include your clients on your subscriber list, like Amanda Boleyn, founder of She Did It Her Way, does.

You can follow in Amanda’s footsteps and publish a steady stream of valuable content on your blog as a way to keep your clients updated on the latest related knowledge.

If you’re in need of a streamlined way to house your info products, check out this 14-day free trial. The all-in-one platform makes creating, publishing, and accessing your educational content a cinch. 

Bottom line:

Take time to educate your clients. They’ll trust you more -- which means they’re more likely to become lifelong customers -- and it’ll solidify the building blocks of your relationship with them.

Which is, hands down, the most important metric to hit for keeping clients around.

#4. Build a relationship with your clients

An impactful way to keep your consulting clients in the long-run is to build a strong relationship with them. 

When you build a relationship with your customers, their spend grows alongside trust, which can mean 67% more customer spend from loyal clients than new ones. 

So don’t be afraid to get to know your clients personally and also share bits of your personal life. (Of course, don’t go overboard, either. It’s best to keep your business relationship as a priority). 

Getting to know your clients personally simply gives you a window into understanding their needs (and life) on a deeper level. 

If you think people are unwilling to share their personal lives in a business setting, think again.

Two-thirds of customers are willing to share their personal information with companies. There’s only one catch -- you need to provide a perceived value in exchange. 

And to provide that value, you need to get feedback about what they value.

A mighty 77% of consumers view brands more favorably if they proactively ask for customer feedback.

Simply asking for feedback isn’t enough, however. You need to actually do something with that feedback. 

Which is something not enough brands do. On a global scale, anyway. 51% of people believe that most brands don’t take action on feedback received from their customers.    

Beyond acting on received feedback, another way to nurture your relationship with your clients is to keep in touch. Even if they don’t renew with you right away, try to stay connected over the long term. 

Just as you’d check in on a friend from time to time, touch base with your clients even after your contract has ended. It’s an easy way to continue to nurture your relationship.

As far as communication methods go, email, text, and phone are effective ways to keep in touch but don’t forget about face-to-face interactions. 95% of people say face-to-face meetings are key for long-term business relationships.

Even if you don’t do it in person, you can use video conferencing to communicate face-to-face with your clients. Video chat among consumer-business communication is fast on the rise and has grown 233% over three years. 

So, don’t hesitate to phone a well-paying friend every now and again. Doing so can be the difference between a one-and-done relationship or a relationship that pays in spades.

Keep your consulting contracts alive even after they’ve ended 

The end of your consulting contract doesn’t have to mean the end of your business revenue. 

You can certainly upkeep your earnings by turning your clients into lifetime customers. 

To recap:

  • Aside from a steady paycheck, the benefits of retaining your current consulting clients are that it’s less expensive than bringing in new ones, your current clients spend more the longer they work with you, and they’re a great referral source.
  • To renew your consulting client contracts, focus on earning your clients’ trust. It could make or break your client relationships.
  • Another way to retain your consulting clientele is to go above and beyond while servicing your clients. 
  • By educating your consulting your clients, you position yourself as an expert in your field and a reliable choice for servicing their needs.
  • Finally, if you strengthen your relationship with your clients, you can strengthen your chance of earning their business over the long-term.

Basically -- don’t let a good thing go. If you’ve got a client that’s easy to work with, take the extra steps to turn them into a lifetime customer. It’s worth it in the long-run.