As busy business owners, the holidays creep up on us with a mounting list of to-dos; both personally and professionally. There are clients to thank, vendors to connect with and team members to acknowledge. Each year in our work with clients, the holidays prove to be one of the most stressful times of the year. This year, take a deep breath and take some pressure off! Instead of searching for the most impressive gifts in December to leave the largest impression with those you barely interact with year-round, consider shifting your approach to thinking of ongoing ways to build key relationships throughout the year. This more meaningful, proactive approach helps you stay in front of your VIPs with purpose and gratitude. Remember, people choose to do business with others they know, like and trust!
A simple quarterly campaign geared directly to your most important Top 20 VIPs focuses instead on creating value in the relationship instead of another gift to add to their mounting pile each December. Your Top 20 VIP group represents the 20 people that will generate the greatest revenue for you and your business over the next 90 days (note, these are NOT leads!). They can be key clients/ customers, big vendors or suppliers, referral partners, and especially some of your key team members.
The success of this campaign comes down to three success criteria:
1. Your team must help you keep an ongoing pulse on the relationship, with an ear to the ground so that the touch is relevant and timely
2. You must ensure that the information gathered is efficiently relayed to your support partner so that he/she can take timely action
3. Your support partner should help you with at least 80% of this process. For a step by step guide, check out our article, 12 Ways Your Support Team Can Execute An Awesome Top 20 KIT Strategy.
The success of your Top 20 VIP campaign requires that you (namely your support partner) be dialed into what is happening in their world in real time so that your touch can be valuable and relevant. With a few simple tweaks to your process, you can easily keep on top of this.
Remember, this is not a solo effort! Ask your team for help:
1. As they interact with your Top 20 list VIP list, make it part of their job to keep a pulse and report into you.
2. Ask them to keep track of wins, challenges, shifts or struggles.
3. Teach them that this is not just about gifts or tokens, emails or even checkin calls to say hello. This is about thinking about how to add value and show gratitude and care for the key contributors to your cash flow/ revenue stream.
Below are a few of our favorite creative, meaningful touches that you can easily deploy in your own Top 20 VIP campaign:
1. Support their events: If they have an event coming up, attend! Help them get the word out online to boost attendance and awareness. Offer to take candid photos while you are there to post on social media. If you are unable to attend, think about what else you can do support them: do you have any friends you could refer to the event to signup, can you become a sponsor or include items in attendee goodie bags, etc.
2. Support their charities: If you have an awesome Top 20 group, they likely have active philanthropic lives. Keep note of what they are involved in and help them get the word out for fundraisers or marketing pushes. Consider making a donation in their name and include a handwritten card letting them know how happy you are to support their cause. Look for ways to get contribute or attend their favorite charity events in your area.
3. Celebrate their wins! Send a bottle of champagne or wine if they recently landed a large client, or launched a new arm of their business. If they get engaged, send chocolate covered strawberries, or if they just beat cancer, send a large bouquet of sunflowers or bottle of wine.
4. Create a wow experience: If your client has a large meeting coming up and has dinner planned-- call the restaurant and have a bottle of wine delivered to the table with a note, or pickup dessert-- just make sure the host lets the client know about your gesture.
5. Cross-promote their work: For example, if you own a bakery and you are baking cakes for another company on your Top 20, share the photos and the story of the company on your website. If they are leadership coaches and have alot of articles on leadership development, promote them on your website or as part of your overall marketing campaign.
Those are just a few of our favorite ideas, all designed to create the meaningful, wow-experience that you want your Top 20 to feel. Check out our free download filled with 20 fun ideas that you can implement with your own list. DOWNLOAD HERE: 20 Meaningful Ways To Touch Your Top 20.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.