by Jane Shafron –
We all spend time chasing new clients. There is something especially beguiling in going home from the dance with a new partner. And for the business, it smells like… growth!
But as the economy continues to improve, and as the phone trills more urgently with prospective clients, we’ve got to ask: is every new customer an unalloyed blessing? Well, to borrow every economist’s favorite answer – it depends…
New clients cost time and money to win, and once won are still an unknown quantity. In the service sector, some clients can be wearingly troublesome: inexperienced, needy, unfairly demanding, underfunded maybe. Also, there may be a reason why this shiny new client unhitched from their previous supplier. Once you take on a new client, whom you have come to regret, they can be very difficult to shake without suffering collateral damage (think beaucoup time wasting and negative reviews on Yelp, Google Maps etc.).
Old clients, on the other hand, can be like a comfortable pair of jeans; they are already a good fit. You know each other, there is respect on both sides, and you are less likely to get bogged down in misunderstandings and meeting unreasonable demands. But you still want to grow your business, right? Well, as the rising economic tide lifts all boats, there will be more business from old clients – you just have to make sure that you are there to book it.
Ultimately, how much time you spend pursuing more work from old clients – versus romancing new prospects – is a judgment call. But when you do pursue a new relationship, spend the same amount of time assessing them as they are spending assessing you. And never forget: old clients are the best clients – just don’t leave them drinking alone.
Jane Shafron (Ambassador NAWBO-OC) is the owner of Your Story Here Video Biography. She is an award winning documentary film maker creating bespoke business and personal history documentaries to help preserve personal stories and family histories for future generations.