My name is Amy Vance and I have been running my company Eco Modern Concierge in Houston, TX for about 11 years. I help small businesses and individuals get things done they don’t have time to do or don’t want to do, which includes professional organizing, personal assistant work and eco consulting.
Through the years I have learned a LOT in regards to business and how to gain and sustain repeat clients. I in no way have all the answers, but below I outline what I have learned through the years of being in business. I am still learning ALL the time.
Gaining Clients /
This is one of the things that I used to despise most, and still do from time to time, because you are completely putting yourself out there and forced to talk about your business. I’m an introvert that has been forced to be an extrovert, so this has been very hard for me at times. With that said, networking has helped my business throughout the years. You have to find the networking groups that you think would benefit you and your business the most. I have met a ton of new people through networking events, have gained new business and been given new opportunities like speaking engagements and teaching classes. I would encourage you to look into at least 3 networking groups you want to be a part of and try to go to those. If something comes up you really want to attend then GO.
I mean really, what do you have to loose?
2. Always follow up
After attending networking meet ups or any type of event always follow up with the people you have just met. The sooner you do this the better because it will be fresh on both of your minds. Just write a quick email:
Saying how nice it was to meet them.
Referencing something you guys talked about.
If they have a website / blog peruse it and mention a little something you read on there.
Suggest working with them / collaborating with them on a project.
Include your contact information.
I have learned that by following up, individuals really like it when they know I took the time to reference something on their website, blog or conversation because it shows them that I was really listening. After I grab a business card and am at home or in a quiet place, I like to write a little about what we talked about on the card. If a potential new client emails you through your website, sends you a direct email or calls you; always follow up with them within a few days. I always like to do it as soon as possible because odds are they have also emailed other individuals in your field if they are inquiring about your services.
The number one way I have gained new clientele is from referrals. For my current clients, if they refer someone to me and that person books 3 or more hours of service, I give my clients one free hour of service, a gift certificate to The Container Store OR money donated to a charity of their choice in their name. I usually get referrals from current clients, past clients and individuals I meet at networking groups.
4. Make sure your website and social media sites are up to date
One of the things that you really want to make sure is up to date is your website and socials media sites. If a potential client is visiting your site and they see it doesn’t look fresh, up to date and easy to follow they will probably leave your site. Make sure all links are valid on your site. If you have links to your social media sites on your website, make sure your social media sites are current and you have been active on them within the last few months. When potential clients or visitors of your site see that they are not current, it often makes them think that you’re not current or you are potentially not in business. People want to work with you when they know you are on top of things.
I have collaborated with many different businesses, bloggers, and individuals in my field throughout the years and this has helped me to gain new business. Not all of it works all of the time, but it has helped multiple times through the years.
All of these ways can be mutually beneficial in a variety of ways. For me partnering with businesses, gives those businesses a chance to offer more services to their customers. For bloggers, I am providing content in exchange for exposure. My working with other professional organizers or concierge services in my area I can use them on some of my projects, I can refer work to them if I can’t handle something or unable to fulfill a request. The way I look at it, it is community over competition because there is plenty of business to go around, especially in the Houston area.
Sustaining Repeat Clients /
1. Build relationships with your clients
I have learned through the years that one of the best things I have done to gain and sustain my clients is by building personable relationships.
I am so fortunate to have awesome clients. I try to really get to know them without crossing boundaries. I ask a lot of questions when working with them, so we know we are all on the same page, that I am attentive to their needs and know how I can best help them. If you don’t ask questions you won’t know. In my profession I like to ask more questions than necessary so mistakes are not made down the line.
I really like to be personable and not too stuffy when working with clients, and let them know they can come to me with questions they may have. If you have a good ebb and flow, the dynamic usually works better, you become more approachable and are likely to get repeat business.
Get to really know your clients and what their preferences are on a variety of things. This way you can make decisions on the fly if you need to and know you are benefiting them. If I am doing a grocery run for a client, I know which ones only want organic and which brands they prefer, so I know that if a particular item is not in stock I can reach for another brand they may be just as happy with.
2. Always follow up + keep in touch
Just as I mentioned about gaining new clientele with current clientele, always follow up with them. If you haven’t worked with them in a while, send them a quick email just checking in with them. Every so often, I will send an email through MailChimp to a variety of current and past clients letting them know what is new with Eco Modern Concierge and usually include a giveaway or discount of some kind. If you think a phone call is appropriate, then call them. What I have found with my clients in particular is that most are busy and prefer an email. That way they can answer on their own time if they choose to do so. I love sending handwritten notes because it doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Also, I find that my clients really appreciate it and notice I took the time & effort to do so.
3. Be a good listener
When working with clients you need to be a good listener because, after all, they are your clients and you want them to be repeat clients. My clients really notice when I mention something about their life that they told me from months earlier. Like, “How did your mom and dad in enjoy their trip to Italy?” Usually clients are impressed that I actually remembered such small details and it shows them that I really do care.
For my clients it is imperative that I remember certain dates. I send flowers and small gifts to others on their behalf all the time, so I have to remember birthdates, special occasions, etc. For example, I’ll email a client and say, “Karen, I know your best friend Amanda’s birthday is coming up, would you like me to send flowers on your behalf?” Usually I’ll get a reply along the lines of “Oh yes! I have been so busy, thank you so much for remembering, you’re a life saver!” It’s the little things that clients notice.
Know what your client’s likes and dislikes are and try to cater to them in those ways.
I’ll get a call from a client and they will ask me to order from a local restaurant, but knowing they have dietary restrictions I’ll order off of the gluten free menu. Or I’ll send them a quick note and say “Hi Tim -- I just checked out this great new restaurant that has a gluten free menu with delicious dishes, thought maybe you could check it out some time. Hope all is well!” Or if I know a client doesn’t like their closet organized with pants on the left, I will make sure they are always on the right. Details do matter and show your clients you care.
4. Over perform instead of under perform
This is a big one. You want to be the go to person for your client, so under promise and over deliver. When you get things done ahead of a deadline it really shows your client that you are committed to them and capable of completing things on time. Of course, meeting deadlines ahead of schedule isn’t always the case, but the more you complete tasks ahead of schedule the more they will notice. Over perform even if you don’t get any benefit from it, it really shows that you are committed to them and are willing to go above & beyond.
5. Show clients you appreciate them
I LOVE helping my clients and showing them how much I appreciate them. Around the holidays I will often drop off a little something to my current and ongoing clients, usually a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Or throughout the year I will send them little things of appreciation. Recently, I had a local baker make fortune cookies with positive fortunes in them and I gave them out to clients and vendors. I know several of my clients are fitness buffs and like group classes, so I will reach out to a new cycling or Pilates studio in town and ask if I can give something away to my clients, usually businesses are willing to work with me like offering one free class for new clients or a discount of some kind.
Like I mentioned I will do small tokens appreciation for vendors as well, like bring in donuts and coffee for them one morning or sweet treats. No matter if it is a client or vendor I always include a handwritten note. By me making an appearance and showing clients and vendors I appreciate them, shows that I really do care about them and am extremely grateful for their business.
Amy Vance lives in Houston, TX with her husband Bryan and fur baby, Rothko. She began Eco
Modern Concierge as a side job while going to college and working in the Oil & Gas industry.
Eventually she turned her hobby into her full time job. She enjoys going to concerts, reading,
volunteering, going on adventures and exploring new things. Follow her business ventures on