While your focus is on developing a successful product and evolving it over time to meet the demands of your users, as well as growing the best team to do just that, it is important to not lose sight of essential business strategies along the way.

Those who do not focus on business operations, including maintaining relationships, may find they lack a key ingredient: the customer.

Stay in touch the old-fashioned way

There was a time when relationships were built on a conversation and a hand shake, and that is still the way strong relationships are built today. While it is not possible to meet in person or to shake the hand of every client or every contact you meet along the way, a phone or Skype call goes a long way. In fact, a Skype call is a great way for you and your customer to put names to faces and to connect in a way that many don’t take the time for very often.
Simply sending an email blast to clients or a newsletter highlighting new strategies or products, although common, does not serve the purpose of creating a two-way dialogue with your client, and is less about you reaching out to them and more about your efforts at self-promotion.

How to do it

Every month, you should be selecting five to 10 people you want to call. They should be chosen randomly but must include a mix of customers and contacts. Don’t prepare too much – a prepared script or going into a call with a mindset of having very specific goals you want to achieve will block any real dialogue.

The ideal call will involve you connecting with the client to share your current path and questions that ask them about their challenges and goals. If you have solutions that come to mind that can help solve their problems, by all means, share them. When you’ve left the call and have suddenly thought about a solution, that is a good reason then to reconnect and let them know you’ve thought about them.

The ultimate goal is to provide value to your contact, some advice and insights that can solve their problem and help them see you as a solution provider. Including contacts in addition to clients allows you to touch base with people who may not have considered you as a provider before.

Once your company has grown and have a larger contact and client base to consider, select those who meet your classic persona model or ideal customer profile. This way, you will be reconnecting with those who are at the heart of what you are trying to target.

Book it in

People are busy, you are busy. So, it is okay to schedule these calls in advance. You can use services like You Can Book Me that allows clients to set a time that suits them or reach out to you when they’re available.

For instance – and this is fine to do – you set the last Friday of every month as a time to speak with clients. You then send a quick email to all of your contacts letting them know that this is when you’re free. That way, if they have questions or want to reach out, they know there is an open window to do so. This doesn’t mean that you will no longer make random calls. This just lets your clients know that there is an opportunity to talk to you if they want. This is something that I do on my website and find it very useful.

Nothing can go wrong

There is absolutely nothing that can go wrong in this kind of call. Even if you get someone on the phone and find the only thing they have to talk about is how disappointed they are by their experience with a product and complains about what went wrong, this is actually good. This kind of genuine feedback, although it may be unpleasant to hear, will give you the input you need to ensure someone else does not have the same kind of experience, to fix the problems and come up with new solutions. This type of information may not come in the first two minutes of a call, so be prepared to go deeper and ask questions.

Real value

Remember that your team member who will be doing these calls with the contact needs to be able to provide value. So while you can get others on the team involved with this process, the call should be coming from someone like the company founder or a manager – someone who can provide real insight. There may also be value in offering your contacts time with your developer so they can ask technical questions or pose technical challenges.

Whoever you decide, it should be a one-on-one call rather than a group discussion. Dynamics change when there is more than one person on the line and you’ll find that you miss that key intimacy in the interaction.

Try it. Make a call. And tell us how it went below!