The 3 Simple Steps to Creating Clients for a Lifetime

Liftime_PRiddlePaul Riddle
Contributing Writer
Success Group International

Here’s a quick profitability puzzle for you.  Which of these scenarios means more to your company?


Scenario 1:  A homeowner calls you from the phone book or by finding your website.  You run a service call to their home generating a large amount of revenue.  However, they never call you again.

Scenario 2:  Another homeowner calls you from the phone book or by finding your website.  You run a service call for them and fix a minor problem they were having.  The resulting revenue is way below your average, but the good news is that they call you again.  In fact, they continue to call you whenever there’s a problem.  You develop a relationship with them, and you eventually wind up doing a significant amount of work for them over time – and they’ll never call another service company other than you.

Obviously, the second scenario will mean more to your company’s well being in the long run.  The first option might boost your numbers for the moment, but it’s the continued service that leads to sustained income and growth.

With that in mind, how do you go about turning scenario 1 into scenario 2?  What’s the secret to turning a one-time customer into a lifelong client?  Here’s a quick refresher:

Service Unparalleled
First off, you must provide that first-time customer with the service experience of their lives.  Give them a reason to call you again.  The secret to outstanding service is going above and beyond expectations.  What can you do to exceed expectations?  Do you wear shoe covers to protect your client’s home from wear and tear?  Let your clients know why you’re doing it.  Explain that you’re looking out for their home from the get-go.  What else can you do?  Do you give your customers options?  Compliment your customers, explain the problem and the solutions, and then clean up when you’re done.  You can even leave a small gift, like a box of chocolates, with your first-time customers.  All of those are elements of an above and beyond service experience that will compel your customers to call you again.

Stay in Touch
The second element of creating a client is keeping your name and identity on the forefront of their minds.  Too often, contractors forget to stay in touch with their existing clients as the marketing budget gets pushed into SEO or maybe even direct mail for new customers.  But don’t forget about the people that got you where you are today.  Constant communication is a pillar of client retention.  Make it easy for your clients to call you again.  Use promotional items to keep your name and phone number in front of them.  Communicate with your current clients, be it by email, a newsletter, or a letter, once a month to stay in touch with them.  Offer an open house or start a preferred client discount club.  The list of ideas for client retention is practically endless.  Stay in touch with your customers and build a relationship that creates a client.

Join the club
The most powerful element of creating clients is getting your customers to join your club membership program.  It’s a powerful tool that ties clients to you and creates a constant stream of revenue without accounting or renewal headaches.  Clubs also tend to benefit you in terms of work by providing you with opportunities to perform inspections.  You can schedule these annual inspections for times when you might be slow and your team needs some work.

All in all, these three strategies will help you turn one-time customers into repeat clients.  Doing so will provide you with more benefits than you may realize.  You’ll create revenue through continued service calls.  And, if you’ve provided continual above and beyond service, that client may refer their family and friends giving you the opportunity to create even more clients.

Go to work creating clients, and you’ll be creating success along with it.

About the Author: Paul Riddle, Vice President, Success Group International: Paul Riddle has over 25 years of hands‐on experience as GM, COO, CEO, and owner of service companies specifically in the mechanical and restoration segments. Throughout his career, he has personally trained the owners and employees of hundreds of businesses, including several turnaround situations.  His hands‐on training for owners and their employees has been in the areas of business planning, sales & marketing, and company culture. Paul enjoys applying his knowledge and experience working directly with business owners and their employees to increase profits, improve the company’s present value, and unlock the intrinsic value of the business when sold. Paul joined SGI in 2009 as the VP of Operations.

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