Jump-Start Sales with a Client Appreciation Event

The four-step appreciation system I outline in this article is the fastest way to jump-start sales.

Most sales professionals don’t think about themselves as business leaders. If you shift your mindset, you realize there are things you can do to position yourself to sell more to your existing clients and to entice your evangelists to connect you with more referrals.

Here is a four-step system you can use immediately to get new money in the door.

Invite Your Current Clients, Former Clients and Evangelists to an Event

It is a good idea to hold an appreciation event at least once a year. At this event you have some live entertainment and some food and beverages. The event should be an informal gathering designed to thank people who have done business with you (or referred clients to you) in the past year.

You must use a multistep marketing sequence to get your clients and former clients to attend the event. People do not agree to come to something just because it is free. They must be sold on the idea.

There are three specific purposes to holding this event:

1). To rekindle your relationship with past clients, current clients, and evangelists

2). To remind them on who you are, what you do and what’s new

3). To initiate an on-going dialogue that will jump-start sales

Make Them Feel Like They Are Part of an Exclusive Club

By hiring you or referring business to you, at some point in the past, your clients became part of an exclusive club. They should feel as though they have a valuable resource “in the family.” They should be encouraged to call you with any business issue. If you do not handle the challenge of the day, you will refer them to someone who can help them.

Educate to Demonstrate Your Expertise

At this event you should give a brief talk covering something in your field of expertise. This is not a sales pitch nor is it an academic lecture. Most often, I advise my clients to discuss a something relevant in the news or something that of particular interest to the local community. This not only showcases your expertise, it demonstrates leadership and people gravitate toward leaders.

Follow Up with Regular Communication

After the appreciation event, each person should receive regular, frequent communication from you. This communication (newsletter, email, card in the mail) does exactly what the event did. It reminds the client or evangelist you are still open for business. It lets them know that they have an attorney in the family. And it encourages them to call you if the have a need.

On average, my clients receive a 200-300% return on investment from this strategy. One of my clients invited 1,000 evangelists and clients to an appreciation event in July – typically her business’s slowest month. About 220 people attended. The event cost a little over $10,000 (this is the most expensive event I’ve seen for a small business). By August 15, this client’s business had received over $180,000 in new business directly related to the event she hosted. That’s a huge return on investment. My client was able to jump-start sales in that month by $180,000. That’s found money – cash she wasn’t counting on.

Individual Sales Pros Need This Strategy

If you are a sales professional working for a company, you must use this strategy. Appreciation events from business owners are a great way to connect and about 20-30% of all businesses do something to reward their most valuable customers. But when an individual sales executive goes out of his way to do something like this, the impact is even more dramatic.

Think about the last time you took a client to dinner. Remember his appreciation? Did he give you another / a bigger order sometime after that dinner? Now multiply that feeling by 10-10 times. That’s the impact this type of connection has on a client. You can jump-start sales in a big way.

This strategy is a huge competitive advantage. Get going with it today.

Here are three additional resources to help you jump-start sales:

How to Attract More Referrals: Who doesn’t like more referrals? Nobody! Read this article today.

How One Mistake Changed Everything for Me and helped jump-start sales.

Networking is Not Difficult…if you know how.