My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.

Hey, Thanks!

What have you done for your clients lately?
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2001 issue of Subscribe »

Like most entrepreneurs, Floyd Shilanski spends much of his time asking his clients for money. Not outright, of course-but the nature of being a business owner requires that you earn a profit from your clients in exchange for providing a product or service.

"We spend all year asking folks to invest with us," explains Shilanski, owner of Shilanski & Associates Inc., an Anchorage, Alaska, financial planning firm. "Many years ago, I became frustrated with companies always asking for money but not doing anything to say thanks."

That's why Shilanski makes it a point to show his appreciation for his clients. His way of saying thanks is to plan motivational speaking events, because, he says, "it's my wish to have our clients think of us as life coaches."

Building Customer Relationships

However you choose to thank your clients for their business, keep in mind that the idea is to build high-trust relationships with your best clients. "The whole objective is to do more business in less time," notes Anne Bachrach, president of A.M. Enterprises, a San Diego entrepreneurial coaching firm. "It's a lot easier to keep [existing] clients than to go out and spend money on new ones."

Here are some tips to help you plan an event appropriate to your business (and your budget):

Realize the true cost of an event. Spend money on existing clients instead of trying to recruit new ones.

Poll your clients about what they'd like to do. Bachrach says most clients prefer fun, personalized events over the same old dinner party or keynote speaker, but it helps to get a consensus about their idea of a good time.

Make your invitations personal. Bachrach says one entrepreneur she worked with took his clients to the opera and sent opera glasses as their invitation-and he got almost 100 percent attendance.

By showing your existing clients you care, you're ultimately attracting new business through their word-of-mouth. It may cost a little, but aren't your top clients worth it?

Resource Guide

For inspiration and help in planning client appreciation events, try these resources:
Event Planning: The Ultimate Guide to Successful Meetings, Corporate Events, Fundraising Galas, Conferences, Conventions Incentives and Other Special Events by Judy Allen
Gala!: The Special Event Planner for Professionals and Volunteers by Patti Coons

More from Entrepreneur

Kathleen, Founder and CEO of Grayce & Co, a media and marketing consultancy, can help you develop a brand strategy, build marketing campaigns and learn how to balance work and life.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Create your business plan in half the time with twice the impact using Entrepreneur's BIZ PLANNING PLUS powered by LivePlan. Try risk free for 60 days.
Start My Plan

Latest on Entrepreneur