Many business owners, nowadays, are of the view that when you understand your client, you have them hooked up with your product of service forever. However, in my views, knowing you client is only half the work done. The other half is in serving the client according to their needs and giving them their due attention.
Giving attention to your clients is perhaps the most integral part of customer relations and the most decisive factor for the fate of your business. It makes the client feel special and prompts him to prefer you over your competitors when it comes to generating business opportunities. However, one debate that always rises among marketing and business development professionals is that should you be giving attention to the ‘bird in hand’ i.e. the clients with whom you are already working, or ‘ two in the bush’ i.e. new and potential clients that exist in the market.
For that matter, I am giving a complete analysis of the pros and cons of keeping your attention on the existing clients, and the pros and cons of diverting your attention to the new ones.
Your Attention on the Existing Clients
Existing clients are those clients with whom you are in a continued process of delivering services. For every design agency or studio, existing clients are of great importance as they are a source of continuous business generation. Although sticking to your existing clients and keeping them happy is one of the best marketing strategies, however, in order to decide whether they deserve the better share of your attention or not, let’s probe into the advantages and disadvantages of the existing clients for your business.
Comfort Level and Understanding
As mentioned earlier, existing clients are the ones who are already in the work process with your organization, therefore, you tend to develop a good level of comfort and understanding with each other. This feeling of mutual comfort and understanding enables you to screw down to your client’s mind and bring out exactly what they require, and also makes your client feel ‘at home’ while working with you.
On the other hand, new clients need more hand-holding. Either they don’t understand the service, and are often dubious about it, or it takes a lot of time for you to bring out the best possible solutions for them.
According to U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs, “it’s five times cheaper to keep a client than to get a new one”.
Existing clients spare you from investing a good amount of your time money and resources on them. Once a client becomes a part of your wok cycle, and you develop a mutual understanding with each other, then you get the liberty to skip certain formalities. For instance, while working with an existing client, a design agency doesn’t always have to take print-outs and make dummies of every revised design. Instead, soft copies of the design are often made for the client’s review.
Prospect of More Work
When you are in a working relation with an existing client, and you tend to pass through a specific period of serving them successfully, there are chances that the client would want you to work on some other projects as well that come under your scope of services.
For instance, a fellow designer of mine was working for a client who was very contented from his design services, and so after the successful completion of the third project, the client offered him a bulky printing project, which was priory being done by some other vendor. The printing project earned him a good deal and he is now a permanent vendor for designing as well as printing jobs of that client.
Referrals and Testimonials
Even if your existing client does not offer (or are not able to offer) you more work, referrals and testimonials are the kind of gifts that they will always be willing to give you. When you have a good working relationship with your client, they refer you to their acquaintances and other business which ultimately lands more projects on your desk.
Similar is the case with testimonials. When you are at the course of pitching new businesses, your existing clients can testify for the quality of your services which adds a strong persuasive point to your profile.
Your existing clients are happy with your services and offer you more work avenues within their organization, however, no matter how diverse their services are, it will always be the same brand to work on which causes monotony for you and your employees.
No matter how well you have been working with a client there will always be a point when you and/ or your employees reach the saturation point. The saturation point causes to exhaust your creativity. Your creative juices stop flowing making you unable to write, design or conceptualize anything for projects related to that particular client.
Your Market Reputation
Working with a client for quite some time takes you at level where you become known as a service provider only to one company. Such market repute does not allow your client list to grow. So, in order to pitch new clients you need to either adopt image rectification strategies or prove the new clients that you are ready to work with anyone.
Your Attention on the New Client
Changing your course of working with older clients and attracting new clients to your business nest is another best strategy of expanding your business horizon. We all know that the clientele of a service providing business keeps fluctuating. To compensate for this continuous erosion in the client base you must acquire new clients to fill the void, and as long as you are keeping them satisfied many of which will become your regular customers.
However, let us first go through the following pros and cons of new clients and then decide upon the point that whether they should get the bigger chunk of your attention or not.
Business is all about growing, increasing and rising above all levels. Majority of the successful businesses never limit themselves to any specification, on the contrary; they tend to bring diversity to their existence and work. Launching extensive lookout for new clients and their retention is also an attempt to diversify.
Usually new client comes with tasks different that the ones you have been doing earlier which naturally gives a fresh canvas of thought to you and your employees (who are perhaps bored from working on the same client every day). In my views, work diversity is the most integral aspect for keeping your brain cells fresh and your creativity on its toes.
Addition to Portfolio
Nowadays, you wouldn’t find anyone singing the praises of a design studio having only a few specific clients in their portfolio. Portfolios are meant to have a wide-ranging client base and projects so that they open new prospects of business for their owner. Shifting your focus to new clients gives you an opportunity to present a diverse work experience and the ability to work with numerous clients in various industries on different client service teams.
Variety in Sources of Income
The ultimate goal of a business is to have financial gains. Although there is no harm in working with a singular client that gives you enough financial benefits that cover all your business expenses and by the end of the day leaves you with a pocket full of money. However, there are only a few clients in the world who are offering you projects all year long. Therefore, sticking to one or only a specific clientele often results in ‘financial dry-spells’. Moreover, there are clients who delay your outstanding payments habitually or intentionally.
Widening the scope of your company’s client list will enable you to earn from variety of sources, so that if one source delays the payment or cuts down on the projects, you have a number of other sources to earn from.
As mentioned earlier, a company hardly can depend on limited client list. The monotonous can be overwhelming that can hamper the quality of work and ultimately affects relationship between both parties. In order to deal with it, you need to explore new horizons of creativity and more challenging venues to continue your endless journey towards success and glory. Accepting the new challenges posed by new clients, can curb the prosiness and help you grow vigorously.
At this stage, it is pertinent to consider the other side of the picture by addressing the possible disadvantages of opting for new clients. Pitching new clients brings up a good expenditure of time and resources, and economically striving companies cannot really afford to spread their financial base just on the hope of clinching new client from the market or the competitors. On the contrary, for such businesses, the existing client is the company’s lifeline which should not be neglected on the cost of an unknown resource.
One cannot just overlook the due time period which is required to earn the client’s trust. The phase in making new clients usually requires you to spend time on understanding what the client hopes to achieve, their strengths and weaknesses, whom are they competing against and the environment in which they are conducting their business. After spending time on the client and his brand, if you do land a client, it’ll mean that this time has paid you well, otherwise, all this time-spending goes wasted.
One can buy anything but moralities. New clients come with loyalty issues. For instance, after hectic business pitching, if you do succeed in having a client aboard, there are chances that the new client may soon move to another agency or design service provider. Most marketing experts and practitioners believe that the ideal relationship between a client and its design agency hinges on mutual loyalty.
Growth of every organization depends on the strong client base which is usually earned at the expense of time, resources and hard work. However, the shift from existing to new is also inevitable for those who aspire to grow. Clients today look for agencies with a proven track record and the ability to make every client feel important. Therefore, the best way to deal with this is to strike a balance and try not to avoid anything which has importance for new or old clients. The mutual dependency is a key to run a successful business so, keep it as long as possible.
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