In the old days, schmoozing new clients usually meant spending several hours in an overpriced restaurant, and ordering martini after martini — and glancing at your watch while asking yourself “is this ever going to end?”
Thankfully, those days are long gone! Today’s clients are more sophisticated, and that means setting up camp in in an uncomfortable leatherette booth is no longer part of the game plan. Instead, sales executives who want to make a lasting impression need to think outside-of-the-box. To that end, here are five low cost ways to dazzle new clients and win profitable business:
- Give the Gift of Knowledge
Old school “swag” like generic gift baskets are out, and giving the gift of knowledge — by way of a hand-picked print book — is in. The selection can be business-based, focused on personal or self-development, an autobiography or memoir of an inspiring story, or anything else that is appropriate. For an even bigger impact, write a short inscription telling your client why you liked the book, and why you hope they will as well.
- Rent a Party Bus
A party bus is an excellent way to impress clients in an environment that is classy and professional, yet relaxed and informal. You can simply have the professional driver trek around town, or you can use the party bus as a limo to take you from point A to point B (and C, D…and so on) in world-class style. You can also choose the size and type of party bus you want, ranging from more classic limo-style, to something more modern and wow-inspiring.
- Offer a Free Tool
Developing a simple web widget or mobile app can be fairly simple and affordable — especially since you’re not trying to win any awards, but simply to create something interesting and useful that your soon-to-be-dazzled client will use. For example, if you sell employee benefits and HR software, you can create a browser plug-in that reminds employees to stretch every 45 minutes. It’s a great way to stay top-of-mind and stand out from the competition.
- Deliver a Workshop
Prospective clients field pitches from service providers, vendors and consultants all the time — and after a while, it frankly becomes difficult to tell one proposal from the next. Instead of joining the herd and getting lost in the crowd, reframe your approach by delivering a workshop either on-site at your client, or virtually over the web. Focus on delivering an educational experience and conveying takeaways that your client can use even if they decide to head in another direction. The seeds you plant today can grow months or years from now — especially if your client’s choice doesn’t meet expectations (which happens more than you might realize!)
- Tell a Story
Marketing-speak has given way to corporate storytelling, which is how businesses help clients understand their mission, values, principles and direction. You can tell your story through a video that highlights your history and vision, or you can put together a mini ebook that mixes factual information with reflections from staff, clients, strategic partners, and so on. Think of it like brochures for the new world of business. You can even print out hard copies and deliver them for an even greater, more personal impact.
The Bottom Line
These days, dazzling clients doesn’t mean that you need to flex your financial muscles — or spend hours and hours buying martini after martini. It’s about making a personal connection, and demonstrating your ability and willingness to lean forward and exceed expectations. Any or all of the above ideas can help you stand out for all of the right reasons, and take your business to the next level!