How To Keep Your Clients Happy

In the final episode of Season 2 of THE COMPANY WE KEEP podcast, host Jason Pearl goes solo to talk all things client relationships and retention. He lays out five different ways of approaching your client relationships to ensure you're delivering what you were hired to do and ultimately retain your clients and grow your business.

All right. All right. Welcome to another episode of The Company We Keep podcast. I am your host, Jason Pearl. Really excited to be with you today. This is a podcast for everyday business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders that want to think differently about success, want to think differently about growth, and want to have better balance in both business and in life.

And today, this is the final episode of season two. I know there's going to be a lot of people upset out there, but what we're doing today is this is going to be a final episode that I am running solo on for season two. Don't worry, season three is already in the works, but this is going to be our final episode of season two.


And as I said, I'm going to be riding solo. Reason I'm going to be riding solo today is I wanted to have a tangible podcast and takeaways that you guys could consume about a topic that I think a lot of people struggle with: and that is how to keep clients, how to retain clients, how to keep the revenue you already sold in your company or things of that nature.

[00:01:13] And it's something that out of the two decades worth of business that I've been a part of, client retention is so paramount. And I just thought it would be a great episode to give you some tangible takeaways that you could go and implement in your daily life, whether you are a business owner, whether you're the CEO of an organization, or whether you're a consultant, or a creator just starting out and trying to make sure that you can keep food on the table.

And the way to do that is by keeping clients happy. And it seems like it's a very easy thing, but what I have learned over the course of the past 20 years is that you have to be extremely intentional in all of your actions. Again, whether you're a business owner, an entrepreneur, or a leader, you need to make sure that you're doing a few of these things correct. So let's get into it.


One of the things that I wanted to start with is what I see often in the business world and what I have seen over my career. And one of the things that I believe is happening now more than ever, because of the world we live in with technology with all of the experts in all of the content out there that you can consume.

I see that client acquisition gets all of the money right now. Whether it's the paid ads or whether it's the remarketing efforts or things of that nature, client acquisition seems to be where all of the focus is. Now don't get me wrong, my career is based on client acquisition. I am a sales growth guy, this is what I've been doing for the majority of my career. But what I know to be true is that is, it is much harder to sell a new client than it is to retain an existing client. So anyone that's out there that's trying to build a business. They both have their place: sales, customer success, marketing, all of those things. They all have their place. They're all extremely important. They all need to work together. But I'm specifically going to be talking about client retention or keeping customers happy in this podcast. Because again, one of the things that I see is that client acquisition is where all the marbles go, right?

That's where everyone's throwing their money. But what happens is, especially if you're just starting out or if you're transitioning in your business, oftentimes what happens is you can put a ton of effort and time into client acquisition, which again, there's nothing wrong with it, but what's happening is expenditures all the money and all the effort is going into the acquisition and not the retention. Once they actually become paying clients. And that's where client churn goes up. So when client churn is going up and your customer acquisition cost is going up, that is a very high cash burn rate for businesses.

[00:04:09] Whether you're and independent, or whether you're a large corporation, you do not want that model where your client acquisition cost goes through the roof. And so does your customer churn rate. Customer churn rate, in layman's terms is essentially, clients that no longer pay you. Clients that off-board. Clients that say, thank you, but no, thank you.

So you bring a client in the door and if they're churning within six months or a year, depending on what your client acquisition cost is, that could be really problematic for your business. So that's one of the things that we wanted to talk about today is just how we can make this work and how we can give you some tangible takeaways to put in place in your business to ensure that you keep your clients happy.

So another thing that I see in the business world that is definitely problematic is where companies become very ego-driven. And I normally see this when companies have some level of success, so they immediately think that they're always right and the client is never right. Like you're hiring me to do this, so I get it, you need to relax and just listen to me, my way or the highway type of situation. Those are situations that are really problematic as well, because that doesn't mean that as an expert, you still can't listen. You still can't understand your client and things of that nature, but where I see companies and even sometimes consultants really get crooked with this is where they become very ego driven and they are not listening to their client's needs, and what the client needs to be successful in this relationship. And I think a lot of times this comes from the, the company, not really fully understanding their ideal client profile.

Some of the business call it an ICP, but I think this is where a lot of that comes because when the client acquisition costs goes through the roof it's often because you're trying to get a wide or cast a wide net and an audience to acquire clients. And if you're not acquiring the right client for your business, that's going to make your business successful and your client successful. That's where the churn comes in. So that's another thing that I see.

And then finally, and there could be tons of them, but I'll just, I just wanted to give you a handful to set this up is the old over promise and under-deliver right. How many times have you heard this again? I'm a career sales guy, right? You, you hear people say, oh, I could sell ice to an Eskimo or, that guy could sell anybody, and that's where I think this whole mentality in sales as a whole has really tarnished a very strong, very meaningful, very necessary industry in this world. You need salespeople to be able to help present opportunities solutions and products to companies that actually need them. But where folks get themselves in trouble is where they feel like they need to overcompensate and they start to oversell their product or their offering. And then that oversell, is it gets you in this kind of waterfall effect where you've over promised all these things and all of a sudden it just starts falling down. The water starts pouring over the sides and you just can't retain that client anymore. You can't keep that client happy because you've promised so many things at such a high level, one thing falls, the next thing falls, and then before you know what, that client's gone. And we see this in our world, even outside of the business world. Don't we think about again, I'm happily married for 17 years, but you think about the online dating profiles, right? You hear horror stories of people like "Went on this website and saw a picture of this guy. And I met him in person. He looked completely different" or vice versa.

But people feel this need to overinflate themselves and overinflate their offerings. Think about it even where I'm a huge LinkedIn guy, I'm on LinkedIn all the time. It's where I normally have the majority of my social presence and my social energy is in LinkedIn. And what you'll see is you'll see the picture of the 22 year old guy or gal with over a decade's worth of experience. And they're here to, they're here to be a influence and authority in a certain industry in this world. And by the way, that doesn't mean that young people can't be successful. I see tons of young people that are very successful, but the young people that I see that are very successful, they're niched and they're very honest and that's why they're successful because they niche down in a certain area. The CEO, the chief executive officer that is unemployed on LinkedIn, it's this need to feel like you have to overinflate yourself. And don't get me wrong. I remember when I was just starting out in business I'd meet people. Oh, you must be a young guy. How old are you? And they'd ask you your age and I, you almost feel that need to try to overinflate yourself, but ultimately you just gotta be honest, and you gotta be very direct and how things work. That's why in Nacre Consulting in my consulting business, one of the things that, that I say often when I'm talking to a new prospect is I'll say, listen, I don't make magic happen. The consultants I work with, we don't make magic happen. We work with good people that have good businesses that have good thoughts that want to grow and want to scale their businesses.

And that's where the partnership between Nacre Consulting and your company is going to have a marriage. We don't just come in and press a couple buttons. And all of a sudden, your 15 year old business that hasn't been able to scale. All of a sudden can scale because we're not magic makers, we work with good people that have good companies and we help them scale. And I think that's a really important takeaway is to just be honest and open with how you can be successful for somebody else. But the old over promise and under deliver is just something that runs rampant in the business community. And it's something that we just need to get rid of. But, as I transition, I want to talk about what I've learned in my 20 years about how to keep clients. I have my own consulting firm. Again, we work directly with businesses normally in that five to $25 million space, we help them scale. We help them increase their revenue through sales and growth functions. And what I have learned in the past four plus years of running this business, and then the 16 previous years of being in the corporate world is that you have to build relationships.


So the first takeaway in how you can keep clients happy is you need to build relationships, right? And again this is a broad stroke, but think about who you are and who you serve. So if you're a consultant or if you're a leader, or if you're a business owner and you're selling your services to somebody else, you have to build relationships within that organization and they need to be vertically and horizontally.

Okay. So what that means is you want to build a relationships with, the top of the company, but you also want to build relationships down below just the C-suite and then horizontally the folks that you work with or the folks that you're directly working with you need to build relationships with those folks. And people say what does that have to do with keeping clients happy? It has everything to do with keeping clients happy because you need to build trust and you need to build respect. Critical parts of a strong working relationship. You know, so many people get so laser-focused and just coming in and doing the job and and they're just cold. And business is still people doing business with other people, right? So you want, you don't have to be best friends, and oftentimes that's problematic as well, it's just in the middle where you need to build trust and respect. And that comes from intentionally taking time to build relationships, both vertically and horizontally within the business. Okay. I think if you do that, you're going to find new things out about it. Some of the colleagues that you may be working with, regardless of what the arrangement is, you're also going to understand a better idea of where the company is going from a leadership standpoint and what they find to be beneficial. And then you're able to tailor your offerings and you're able to tailor your work even midstream to make sure that continues to be successful.

What I'm not saying is don't be the water cooler guy or gal, don't be the person that just sits at the water cooler, or or the break room or the lunch room, or wherever people congregate in whatever companies you work with. Don't be that person that's trying to build relationships in a fake way, and don't try to get overly personal with these folks either, just be normal. Be intentional about trying to learn a few things here or there, maybe it's a question or two, when you get introduced to somebody new within the organization and then maybe the next time you do that you follow up on that question or you ask them about those things and you build relationships, you build trust, you build respect and that will put you in a very good footing when it comes to keeping clients happy. That's just one, that's just the first thing that we're talking about is how to build relationships both horizontally or both vertically and horizontally.


The next thing that I want to talk about is where I know I've, I failed in the past, especially as a as a young buck, trying to go into business, but being laser-focused based on what you were hired and or paid to do. There are so many situations where I have seen folks that have a very specific job try to get out of their lane and get into a different lane way too soon. And I'm not talking about being curious or trying to help in certain ways. For example, if I'm a consultant and I'm hired to help grow a business, and there's sales issues and there's things that I need to roll up my sleeves and get busy with when it comes to helping a company out, if I can't understand what's going on in the sales team and how they're generating revenue and where they're finding issues and errors, but all of a sudden I'm trying to poke my hands and and head into the marketing team or into the customer success team where I'm talking about all these other things before I've actually taken care of what I was directly hired to take care of. That is problematic. Now, again, that doesn't mean that you can't have opinions on other things, but what you need to do is you need to be very laser-focused on making sure that you are doing, and doing very well by the way, the things you were hired to do. Again, whether you're a service provider, whether you're a consultant or if you're a W2 employee working at a company, you need to be able to prove that you can do what you were hired to do before you're able to get the get the slack in the rope to go do other things within the organization, or have the authority to speak on other areas of the organization.


The third thing I want to talk about here is how to keep clients happy is really important when you're talking about when you make mistakes. I don't know about you. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes all the time. I've made multiple mistakes over my career and no one is perfect. When you make a mistake or you make a judgment call that's incorrect, or you do something that actually doesn't work out the way you thought it was going to work out. You have to quickly admit when you're wrong and you have to be very open about it. I can think of a situation earlier this year with a really strong client of mine that I've built relationships with, I've been very laser-focused on doing what I was hired to do and show success in those areas. But I, I made some mistakes earlier this year on managing a project. I was tasked to manage a project and do some adjustments and pricing and roll certain things out to the entire organization and myself and a few of the people I was working with, we mishandled it. And it was my project that I was basically the sponsor of, and I mishandled it And I remember having my one-on-one with the CEO and I just said, "Hey I just want to be honest with you. This project, it's been a complete joke. I'm sorry. I mismanage it. I did this and this incorrectly. I realize that now I'm going to fix it. But I wanted to let you know that as the main project manager on this and the person that was that you're paying to make this happen and you task to make this happen, I screwed it up. And I want to let you know that I'm owning that I'm aware of it and everything should fall on me, but here are the things that I'm going to do to make it right." And it's funny because I know the CEO was thinking that and we have we've built a very strong relationship and maybe he was going to be easy on me, but you know what, I admitted where I failed and it, in my opinion, I think that built stronger trust with him. That gives him more confidence in me that I was able to see a blind spot. And again, some of this may come with maturity. I know it has, for me, I haven't always been that forthright and direct with admitting my mistakes, whether it be in the business world, or you could probably ask my wife, whether it be personally. But we all make mistakes. So what we have to do is we have to own those mistakes and we have to be honest and. And direct when we make those mistakes. And what you do is when that happens with the client. And you do that, I believe trust is built even stronger there. That being said, you don't want to make too many mistakes, or they're probably going to not want to use your services anymore anyways.

But when you do, and maybe the rare occasions where you mishandle something, mismanaged something, or make a mistake quickly admit, be open about it, and create a solution to how to move forward.


The number four, tip of how to keep clients happy is focused around, what we just talked about: creating solutions, not ideas. I'm smiling because I can think of a few people in my life that are idea people, and I love them. Everybody is gifted in very different ways. But when you were hired either by a company organization or whatever, to do something specific, doing what you're paid to do, you need to be the solution person, not the idea person, unless you're specifically hired just to generate ideas. And there are certain people that do that. Oftentimes you're hired for solutions, not ideas. So I, again, I can think of a number of different examples in my career where I'll go into a meeting and people will have all these ideas.

But it's for a problem that we need solutions for. So there'll be like " I'm just talking out loud here, but I got this idea and this idea," and then you follow up and you say how would this work and create a solution to this problem we're trying to address? "I don't really know. I'm just kinda, I'm just kinda throwing some stuff against the wall here." And what is really beneficial is to understand the problem or the situation and then start to write down or think in your head. Okay. What could be potential solutions to this? And then you think through idea to application, does it work or does it not work? Oh, it doesn't work. Okay. So again, here's a new idea. Here would be the application. And then the solution to the problem. Would that work? Yes. Okay, great. So you have to work through the whole process of creating the solution and the implementation of this solution to make sure it's successful. And again, I think a lot of times I see people that are, they're idea people, but they don't think about the solutions. And if you want to keep a client happy and they're coming to you with an issue, they're paying you to find the solution for the most part. They may help you ideate and go through certain ideas, but they're paying you for the solution. So you want to make sure that that you do that and not just throw some ideas at them and then say, or you guys go figure it out again, unless that's what you're being paid for.


And then finally which you've heard we talk about often is, how to keep clients happy is looking at each individual client in each situation as what's going on in their head, what's going on in their heart, what's going on in their house. And I think it starts with the person that hired you.

You have to understand why they're hiring you and how they need to operate. What they need out of you. What's going on in their head, what's going on in their heart, and what's going on in their household? How can you help them be successful? And then how can you be successful with them? And it's even with the organization, you need to understand your client and company, right? You need to know their missions and visions and goals. You need to know short-term and long-term situations. You need to understand what's the heartbeat of their business. What's the lifeblood of their business. Where are they generating the revenue, if that's what you're being hired to do. You need to understand again, the long-term and the short-term and you need to put yourself in the situation. If I was the CEO, what would I need this person that I'm hiring to do? Or if you work for the VP of sales or the director of marketing, or you work for the head of customer success, what can I do to achieve success in this role that this person hired me for? And you need to understand not just the surface level stuff, but you need to understand all the other things. I've seen a lot of people succeed where they surround themselves with really smart, really effective people. And that's where you can find success. This open, honest relationship with trust, understanding what's going to make everyone successful, and then you go and you do that. So really understanding that. Heart and house of the client and this situation I think, is going to help you retain your clients even better.


All right. As a recap there's this is not an all-inclusive list, right? There are a ton of great resources, a ton of great people, a ton of great follows online that specifically talk about customer success, client success, and how to keep clients happy.

But I just wanted to run through some personal experiences and tell you, in my 20 years experience, here's here's five takeaways that I think if you listened to, you digest, and then you start to implement, you'll find that your customer retention and your client happiness rates will continue to increase.

And again, just to recap: build relationships vertically and horizontally, and you want to make sure that relationship is built on trust and respect.

2. Be laser-focused on what you were hired to do. If you are being paid to do something, make sure you do it well before you go into trying to find other areas or other lines of business that you can upsell.

3. Quickly, admit when you're wrong. No one loves the person that's always deflecting.

4. When you're being hired, you have to be a solution person. Ideas are great, but if they can't be implemented and they don't have success behind it, that's going to be problematic.

And then 5., understand the head, heart, and house of the situation. Whether the company that's hiring you whether it's your boss, whether it's the leader of the organization, you have to understand how you can be successful in all those areas.

But there are certainly others, right? There are certainly others things that we can talk about. Other resources that are out there. Again, this is not all encompassing, but I think if you just focus on these five takeaways, you're going to have a lot more success when it comes to your client retention.


So as we transition, I told you in the beginning that this was the last episode of season two of The Company We Keep podcast. It has been an amazing run. I'm so happy that you've been tracking with me for now, this will be the 22nd episode of The Company We Keep podcast. And by the way, we are just getting started. I am having so much fun talking into this microphone and sharing the company I keep with you all. But I wanna, I want to continue to elevate the content. I want to elevate the conversations. I want to continue to elevate the people that we bring on. To the podcast. So that's why on my website,, I released a new feature a couple of weeks ago, which is how you can leave me a digital voicemail. You can talk to me about current episodes. You can ask me questions. You can give me ideas about more content or new content that you'd like me to discuss. Even podcast guests. I'd love introductions to other folks that you think would be great to join the podcast. But ultimately, what I want you to do is just visit and just keep the conversation going. And as I said earlier too, season three will be launching in the fall of 2021. It's going to help us reset, reorganize and make sure that we are putting out season three to the best of our ability with great content, with great guests and all that type of stuff. So if there's anything you missed in season two, Feel free to visit again, my website at You'll be able to find all the content, all the episodes, you'll be able to find links to the guests and how you can connect with them, and all of that type of stuff. But I am so honored that you've been tracking with me, whether you just picked up on this episode or whether you've been with me since the beginning. I'm so honored that you're that you're consuming The Company We Keep. And I'm just so happy and so proud to be able to put this out. But just so thankful for you all and all the engagement that you bring to me. So don't be a stranger I'd love to hear from you. I'm Jason Pearl. I'm your host of The Company We Keep podcast. Thanks for keeping me company today. And until next time I'm out. Peace.