What Does It Actually Look Like to Capture or Retain a Client These Days?

Client engagement & retention is a cornerstone of success. Did you know that customers referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate​ ​, and 65% of new business opportunities come from referrals and recommendations​​? Over 90% of consumers trust referrals from people they know, significantly impacting purchasing decisions​​.

In truth, my role in BD sees a different set of stats, where we focus on net news. However, overall methods to achieve either net new or retention are up for debate. Is retaining a client still about fancy dinners and lavish gifts, or is it more about hard work and genuine connection? In this blog, let’s explore the changing landscape of client retention and what truly matters in maintaining long-term relationships.

The Traditional Approach to Client Capture & Retention


Let me first discuss a more traditional approach to client capture and retention, which often involves winning and dining, gifts, and other perks. These gestures are meant to show appreciation and build goodwill. But do they? How hard do you struggle to get folks out the door and out of their homes? Of course, some still appreciate this gesture, and others (less consumer-minded) would instead make a memory.


  • Immediate positive impact.
  • Makes clients feel valued and appreciated.


  • Can feel impersonal if not done thoughtfully.
  • Might not address deeper client needs or concerns.

At one point in my life, I worked for a few realtors. Their approach to client capture and retention was about “remaining top of mind” so that somehow if they sent a birthday coffee, a few discount coupons, or a sports calendar, the customers would remember who they were. Actually, what people remember is the impression you made. So, that “traditional approach” reminds you of that experience – good or bad. Of course, this isn’t event-related, but the question remains the same – does gifting solidify customer retention (or at the very least capture a new client).

The Shift Towards Hard Work and Connection


Today, clients expect more than perks; they seek authentic relationships and consistent, high-quality support. Depending on where the relationship comes in, this can look different for each client. The pitfall can be ensuring your company is nimble enough to accommodate various client expectations (within reason). Some points below outline a bit more of what those could look like.

Changing Client Expectations: Clients value transparency, reliability, and genuine connection over superficial gestures.

Importance of Hard Work: Deliver exceptional service and go above and beyond in every aspect of your work.

Building Genuine Connections: Understanding your client's goals, preferences, and pain points on a deeper level.

Your client will REMEMBER that first conversation; they’ll remember how you communicate, show up, and how well you listen (therefore showcasing a brilliant tangible outcome).

Establishing the Differentiator in the Smallest Ways


Creating a unique differentiator doesn’t always mean grand gestures. Often, the small, thoughtful actions make a lasting impression.

Attention to Detail:

  • Remember client preferences, such as their preferred method of communication, how often they expect communication, and how best they digest that information.
  • Personal touches, like a handwritten note or a small, meaningful gift, show that you value them as individuals, not just clients.

Knowledge Beyond the Tangible Outcome:

  • Understanding the client's vision, goals, and challenges allows you to provide tailored solutions that exceed their expectations.
  • Offering insights and expertise beyond the immediate scope of work demonstrates your commitment to their success.

I have a client who likes to connect at least once a month. It doesn’t matter if we have work or not; she needs someone to listen to and help her navigate the hellish world she lives in. Sometimes, just providing an ear is all they need. You would be surprised by how impactful that dedicated time is for her and our relationship.

Strategies for Modern Client Capture & Retention


To capture & retain clients in today's market, here are a few strategies to consider:

Consistent Communication: Regular check-ins and updates to build trust and keep clients informed. This also means you need to advocate and manage your internal team of peers, which isn’t always easy. Set the tone early and become that collaborator.

Personalized Experiences: Tailoring your services to meet each client's unique needs and preferences isn’t always feasible, depending on your company. However, you do not need to abandon the process; you can bend it where applicable. Get creative.

Proactive Problem-Solving: Anticipating and addressing potential issues before they impact the client. In other words, ACTIVE LISTENING. Really listen to what they’re saying.

Feedback and Adaptation: Seeking and acting on client feedback to continuously improve your services.

Balancing Traditional and Modern Approaches


Combining traditional methods with modern strategies can create a balanced approach to client retention. Therefore, solidifying long-term loyalty is built on a foundation of trust, reliability, and consistent value delivery.

Trust and Reliability: Establish an attainable communication structure that delivers value to the client. Do not overcommit. It's okay to ask questions to ensure you’re always able to follow through.

Delivering Value: In the traditional sense, you may see a gift as a show of value, which could be an excellent value delivery, but make sure the gift is unique. Showcase your value by providing something out of the norm; it could actually be time. Maybe it’s a grocery delivery service, carpet cleaning, or simply a subscription to an app. A hybrid approach ensures that clients always feel they are receiving value from your services (in this case, your ability to read between the lines).

Continual Improvement: Never shy away from feedback. One of my biggest frustrations is that so many clients don’t take the time to share. I’m guilty of this and have thus adjusted my POV on this. I take the time to complete surveys, even if everything is just “fine.” Always embrace the importance of constantly improving and evolving your approach to meeting client needs.

In today’s events industry, capturing and retaining a client involves much more than the occasional dinner or gift. While traditional gestures still have their place, hard work, genuine connection, and attention to the most minor details genuinely make a difference. You create lasting value and trust by understanding and addressing your client’s needs. Building a strong, loyal client base requires consistent communication, personalized experiences, and a commitment to continual improvement. Remember, client retention is an ongoing journey that balances both traditional and modern approaches, leading to rewarding, long-term relationships.

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