My talk here is more a reminder for you to stay in touch with your customers – that is guaranteed to increase your sales.
Whether you are a new startup or a small business, the way to survive and grow is to keep in touch with your customers. This could be once a month or even a Birthday Message. Unless you are just starting out in business or in a professional career, I’ll bet you have spent a ton of money to woo the customers, clients you have. And the same thing could probably be said about your competitors. But your existing customer list or database, is a treasure you may be overlooking. How effectively are you “working” that hard-won list of customers? Your existing customers are a resource that should be constantly worked and reworked, over and over again, because, if you do it systematically, you will power up your sales and profits to a degree that can be absolutely astonishing.
Realize this. The cost of doing it, compared to the cost of going out after new customers, is incredibly cheap.
After 37 years in business, I still can’t understand why many people in business and the professions fail to recognize the importance of their customer list or database. Even worse, they never stop to figure out what a customer or client is worth to them over a lifetime of patronage. To prevent this from happening to you, this is what I hope you will do immediately – write or call 20 to 30 of your best customers, and tell them how much you value their loyalty to your business. Don’t be shy about letting your gratitude show. Tell your customers you are grateful for them being your customer. And, to make your appreciation of them more worthwhile, use the occasion to offer them a great price break on a new product or service. Or tell them you’re sending them a free gift.
Here are some other ideas –
You might send out an invitation, asking your top customers to attend an in-store, “Best Customer Night,” event. A wine and cheese event. Someone I once met at a seminar was in the roofing-remodeling contracting business. He told me that when they hit a dry spell, they went back to their existing customers and wrote a simple letter explaining that, since they were previous customers, he’d offer them a 30 percent off any roofing or remodeling jobs he could book for that specific month. If you’re a medical professional, you can hire someone to call and re-motivate your inactive patients.
There are many creative and compelling ways to express your thanks for the business that customers do with you. When you show your appreciation, you are also assuring them that customer support of your business or practice will continue. And it will continue to grow. Remember. Your customers already like you. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be doing business with you. In their minds, you are someone they respect. Stating your appreciation for their business can only enhance your image. Go out of your way to show them that you appreciate them, and the business they bring to you. If you’re in a business like Real Estate, you could offer your best customers a special, “Best Customer Night,” event and solidify your relationship with them, so that when they are in the market for another home, or someone they know is ready, your name comes to mind first.
Because I have built all of my businesses through referrals, I am constantly trying to think of innovative ways to get more of them. Many of my consulting clients have achieved major business gains using such referral systems – in some cases, the results can be as high as $250,000 for an attorney. Do you ask your best customers or patients for referrals? You can put them in the mood and flatter them by saying you’d like to deal with more customers just like them. Who do they know that you can contact, so that they can benefit from your services and products. If you’re not doing this in a systematic, serious way, you must get started right away. You must remind yourself constantly that only if your customers do well will you do well. Only if they have a memorable experience will they do business with you over and over again.
Your customers, when you start talking with them at a deeper level, will see you as far more than just a commodity or product seller. They will see you as something more valuable. That is a unique position for any business owners to put themselves into and to know that you created it. Every time you sell them something, you can add other items to the sale. This makes your business distinctive and no longer a commodity like all other businesses. You can add things for them, call them, service them, send them information, and ask them for advice. Do these things, and they will see you as having such a deep commitment to them, their family and their life, that it will be tremendously exciting.
You have to look at your customers or clients as a lifetime relationship. You’ve got to look at that customer or client in the same way you would look at a dear and valued friend. It really a long-term relationship that, unless you breach it, will go on indefinitely. It’s a relationship that will grow continuously.
Whenever anyone meets me at seminars, they often ask me what do I attribute my success to, and I always tell them that I always treated my customers as valued friends. Contact with customers, active or inactive, is something you can’t overdo. Always fix that indelibly in your thinking. You can never over-communicate with your customers. Unless you stay in close and constant communication, you won’t know what is happening in their lives and that information can be invaluable business intelligence to you.
Let me give you an example from my experience years ago. I bought a small house quite a number of years ago when times were tough and we used an interior designer for the first time in our lives. I could only afford to do a modest job and had a limited amount of money to spend. We ran out of money and though the designer knew the house need a lot more work, she never called again. Had she called me six months later, when I had saved more money, and shown a sincere interest in what I was doing, she’d have gotten the additional job that I gave to someone else. Had she even communicated with me, like calling me and mentioning that a piece of furniture just came in and she thought of us immediately, she’d probably have sold me the $12,000 item.
But, do you see what I mean about communicating with your customers and clients? By not “following up,” that designer robbed herself of my business.
“Out of sight, out of mind.” Only in business, the adage should be revised to read: “Out of touch, out of a customer.”
You’ve spent too much money creating that customer for you to not invest in communicating with them on a constant and systematic basis.
Ken Varga is an a American business owner, consultant, lecturer, author and highly acclaimed speaker, has lived for nearly six decades and has observed life from many angles. Over the years, Ken has ventured into 32 businesses either as owner, co-owner, investor and/or consultant in diverse and exciting fields. He has started and developed a multilevel marketing firm, a national basketball franchise league, a national job search company and was the director of his own band.What is even more remarkable is that he has never had a business failure. He has never had a major business setback. He has never had to turn around and redo everything because he started out wrong. Few business people can say that. He is also the author of “How to Get Customers to Call, Buy and Beg for More!” – where he reveals his success secrets.