By Dale Isip

If you are trying to build relationships with your clients, you might take a different approach depending on how long you have worked with them. While newer clients are always great to have, there are many reasons why you should develop a strong working dynamic with older ones.

In fact, some studies have shown that increasing client retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits anywhere between 25 to 95 percent. There are many ways to engage with different clients, and this article will explore how to work best with clients old and new.

Working with Existing Clients

It may be counterintuitive, but working with your existing clients is your best chance of generating new business. An international survey of over 29,000 people revealed 77 percent of them would be more likely to buy a product from word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.

This – and the fact that current customers are likely to spend 67 percent more than newer customers – begs the need to build stronger relationships with existing clients. To do this, you can do a few things.

First, make sure to highlight positive customer reviews. You can feature these reviews on your business website or promotional materials. If you notice patterns in what your customers liked or found useful, keep these things in mind, and include them in your services.

The next thing to do is to keep an email list and send out regular promotional messages. If you can, consider offering holiday sales or discounts for loyal customers (also known as “loyalty programs”). Your offers should reflect the habits of your existing customers.

Finally, give your business an updated social media presence. With social media, word of your services can travel quickly among your clients’ friends and family.

Working with New Clients

If you are offering your services to new clients, you will want to develop a relationship of trust with them. For this, effective communication is key. Make sure you respond to your client’s concerns (whether through phone, email, or text) in a timely manner — and give them updates of your progress on a regular basis.

Before you start, you might want to set up a realistic timeframe for when you expect certain projects to be completed. You can collaborate with your clients at this time, and if the project will take weeks or months, set agreed-upon realistic deadlines and goals.

Be considerate of your clients’ time, however, and keep your regular communications focused on receiving feedback. Stay open to changes in your work projects – set parameters for such changes before you start – and make sure you and your clients have the same ideas goal-wise.

If you attract new clients through advertising, try to present positive, but realistic examples of your services. If possible, represent your work through testimonials, and this is where your relationships with your existing clients can shine.

By following these steps, you can re-energize your existing customers and engage new ones – fitting ways to work with clients old and new.