How to Create Your Client Retention Plan


We have all read The Statistic. The one that quotes that it costs between five and ten times more to get a new client than it does to retain a current one. That is still true.

Here is an example: When we have a client re-order 250 t-shirts with their logo on the front and the back, the acquisition cost was zero, because the client reached out to us. When one of our Private Business Coaching clients renews their yearly agreement, the acquisition cost was zero, so we are able to lower the cost of their business coaching investment.

Like you, before we had that client, we had to get them to know who we are. You had to get your clients to know who you are too, right? In the drawing of an average sales funnel (on the left), you lead your prospect through steps to have them to get to be aware of you. They have to get to know you and have an interest and desire to work with you. There are costs involved. It could be your time and an entry fee to go to a Chamber event. Or it could be an e-mail marketing campaign which also takes your time and money to place the ads. It could also be a direct mail marketing campaign which takes your time to design the piece (or hire a graphic artist) plus printing, preparing and postage.

Let’s talk about your Client Retention Plan.

What are you doing to make sure they are motivated to keep buying from you and your company? Another way to ask this is: “Do your clients still Know, Love, and Trust you?” All of our clients, and yours too, have lots of options in the world. How are you making yourself incredibly important, vital, to your customer’s success?

In our Small Business Breakthrough Bootcamps, we discuss the concept of Becoming a Category of One, which I believe was created by legendary E-marketer Dan Kennedy. When broken down, Category of One means that you are able to niche down your potential clients so much that you are always the obvious choice. Even when they meet someone who is similar to you, offering services that might, on the surface, seem similar, they would stick with you because of what you do for them.
Hank Yuloff talking about Client Retention Plans at The Chatsworth Chamber

An important point to add here is that “I Give Them Great Service” is definitely NOT what we are talking about here. When we speak to audiences of business owners, we have had every one of them close their eyes while we ask them to do one thing: If you give great service raise your hand and keep it up. We always get 100% of the hands. Great Service, and while we are at it, Great Pricing, is something that every business, says they do, so it is not a Difference Creator.

Here are 6 strategies to retain your current clients:

The first strategy is a rather easy one. Connecting on Social Media messaging. This is partnered with your text messaging, phone chats and email. It is basically connecting with your clients the way they want to connect. Add to this your promotion of your clients on social media profiles and you will move this ahead greatly.

The second tactic in your Client Retention Plan goes along with the first. It is referring your clients to other clients or anyone you meet that you think would be a solid connection for your client. We try all the time to send our clients business. It will be a very definite way for your clients to see the tangible value of working with you.

This is a very easy thing to do, when you keep it foremost in your mind to be a referral machine!

Every month (pre-COVID), we held Monthly Marketing Mondays for a couple of different Chambers of Commerce. In those 90-minute workshops we make a lot of new contacts with business owners. In that situation, we want to make a positive impression, so using this second tactic is important. We listen to those business owner’s need, wants, and desires and our antenna goes up for when we can refer them to someone in our network that will help them.

Recently, we met an allergy expert in the morning, and by the end of that afternoon, we had two referrals for her: an acupuncturist that they were later able to pass leads back and forth and another business owner that happened to mention “sorry I am late, I’ve been sneezing all day – must be my allergies.” When you are open to the Business Universe, you are rewarded. The bottom line is that one of them is now a private business coaching client.

Your third strategy is to use Business Education

Help your clients develop their business by giving away some of your brilliance. We always invite our clients to come to our live 2-hour workshops that we do for various chambers and to our Small Business Breakthrough Bootcamps. When they are there, we are able to talk about them and refer other attendees to them (Remember #2 above? This is an easy place for us to promote you). We also give business education through our blog which goes out to our email list. You may be reading this because you are on that list. We use our podcasts and The Marketing Checklist View Cast as Business Educational opportunities as well. We always ask our audiences who learned something new or remembered something that they used to know. The response here is also always 100%.

If you have ideas for other Business Education, please send us an email to and let us know what you would like us to write or speak about.

The fourth method you can use in your Client Retention Plan is harder than you would think.

It’s called “Just Showing Up.” It could be in the form of an “I was thinking of you. Thank you!” text. You could send them a personalized card or appropriate gift. Making it personal is important. We use an online greeting card and gifting program for this. If you’d like to try it for free, email us at

We have a private coaching client that was expanding her quite successful sports merchandise company to add promotional products. How did we coach her to start from scratch? Show up in front of the local business owners. “Wow,” you may be thinking, “she paid for you to tell her that?” Yes. Along with ideas on improving the sales in her first business, we had to remind her how she got her FIRST business off the ground. Show up,+Show Your Products=Make Sales. It is the same formula, but a different industry. With our holding her accountable, she is off to a great start. And I got a new Red Sox jacket that is WAY cool.

Here is another idea that we witnessed this past Thanksgiving. It is so good, we are thinking of utilizing it for ourselves and our clients. There is a realtor in our area named Karen Piet. She sends this email card to her clients offering a free pie for Thanksgiving. The kicker is that they have to come to her office in order to get it. This gives her a chance to get her clients into her world, and make them think about real estate. She gets a few quality minutes alone with them.

This leads us to the next marketing tactic for your Client Retention Plan. Similar to number four: Actual Human Interaction.

If you are giving them that gift mentioned above, you might want to consider delivering it in person. You might want to pick up the phone and thank them from buying from you. Can you imagine getting a call from a restaurant that you went to for the very first time and it is the owner thanking you for coming and asking how everything was? How about getting that call from your dry cleaner? Or your dentist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, tow truck company or podiatrist asking how you are two days later? YES, this is time consuming, but it is helping guarantee a return visit to your company, for a repeat purchase. You can also share tips on how to get the most out of your product or your service.

My optometrist does not make a personal call, but I DO get a survey email each time I am there, asking how I enjoyed their service. They also, by the way, send a series of text messages confirming my appointments.

Last is to remember that at the beginning of this blog, we talked about being able to niche down your clientele. That does not mean you have only one demographic or psychographic type of customer. You could have several avatars, or Harriets as we call one of our specific client types (aka target market). You may want to split each of your segments into different Harriets so that you can connect with them on a more personal basis. Creating messages that are very personal to each of your Harriets will let them know you care about them and their business.

There is an old jazz version of the Simon and Garfunkel song called Keep the Customer Satisfied. The first time I heard it was in high school. It has always reminded me that our clients, YOUR clients, are our entire reason for our businesses to exist. Let them know how much you care and are grateful.

We would like to help you and your business get larger, faster.

If you would like some personalized ways you create your Client Retention Plan, head to After you answer a few easy questions, you will get an invitation to choose a time for your free 30-minute success phone call with us. We will know more about you and can help you create