Get to Know Your Clients with the FORD Method

Luke Acree

Posted on

Updated February 2024

Solid client relationships are the key to your long-term success.

If you need proof, consider that acquiring a new client costs far more than retaining an existing client—anywhere between 5% and 20% more. Just four years ago, in 2020, CallMiner reported that customer churn cost US businesses $168 billion per year—an amount that has only gotten higher since then.

Additionally, loyal customers and clients can bring you far more business in the long run. This means repeat business as well as referrals, which are exceptionally valuable in their own right.

To build and maintain long-term, profitable relationships, you ultimately need to be able to offer unique value and exceptional customer service, but you also need to build rapport. One of the best ways to do this is by asking questions using the FORD Method.

What is the FORD Method and why does it work?

ReminderMedia has worked with over 140 different industries, and we can say for certain that relationships are essential to the success of service-based sales professionals. If you want to be able to show what you have to offer, people first have to know, like, and trust you. The FORD Method of communication is a way to promote these goals—they allow you to have meaningful conversations with anyone, based on the idea that human beings tend to have similar priorities in their lives.

FORD is an acronym that stands for Family, Occupation, Recreation, and Dreams. As a communication strategy, it works because when you ask people about their family, occupation, hobbies, and goals, you’re more likely to find out what it is that they truly value, as well as what they’re looking to achieve in life. When you inquire about topics that are important to someone and are attentive and sincere in your interest about what they share, you build trust. From a business perspective, the FORD Method allows you to demonstrate an investment in your customers far beyond the initial transaction.

How do I use the FORD Method in my business?

Tony Robbins says that the key to growing your business is understanding your clients’ greatest pain points and greatest desires. Over time, meaningful conversations with your customers and clients can give you this insight (which makes frequent, impactful, and trustworthy contact with your clients an important part of your marketing plan). You’ll get valuable information that you can include in your contact database where it will guide you in your future client interactions.

These conversations don’t need to be forced. Find an occasion to call the people in your sphere, and simply check in. Natural times to connect would be holidays, birthdays, the arrival of a new child or grandchild, graduations, weddings, and promotions or retirements. You can use the FORD Method to put yourself at ease, knowing you have a plan. 

In addition to checking in during good times, it’s also important to be there for your customers when things are more difficult. A get-well card, flowers, a sympathetic phone call, or an offer to help—all motivated by a kind heart and with no expectation of hearing back—are gestures your clients will appreciate and not forget.

The FORD Method is a two-way street

If you really want to get the most out of the FORD Method, you need to be willing to open up to your clients by talking about your own family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. Share your goals and interests so that your customers can feel more invested in you and your success. One of the most effective ways to do this is on social media.

I follow bodybuilder Christian Guzman on YouTube. When I first started following Christian, he tended to only post about fitness. Now, he posts about everything that’s going on in his life. Because I’ve gotten more invested in him as a person, I’ve found myself buying more of his products.

Ultimately, when you’re open and authentic, clients are more likely to find you trustworthy, which increases the likelihood that they’ll stick with you in the long run.

And if you’re looking for another great way to build rapport with your clients, consider gifting them a subscription to one of our personally branded magazines. Each issue is full of compelling articles, delicious recipes, and other great content that you can use to spark conversations with anyone on your list—building and maintaining relationships that will lead to more business for you. Click here to request a free PDF sample.

Download a free copy of the personally branded magazine that makes it crazy-easy to stay in touch with clients and others in your sphere.

Free E-book: The Relationship Marketer’s Guide to Branding

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Written by Luke Acree

Luke Acree, President of ReminderMedia, is a sales fanatic, a marketing evangelist, and an expert team builder. Luke has worked with tens of thousands of agents over the years, helping them understand how to connect with their client database in a way that generates leads, secures repeat clients, and captures referrals.