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This article is Part 4 in Dr Greg Chapman’s ‘Five Profit Drivers’ Five Part Series. Follow these monthly articles for a comprehensive guide to driving profits with expert marketing advice for your small business.
Last month, Dr Chapman described the third profit driver – increasing average value per sale
The fourth of the Five Profit Drivers is “Increasing the number of times a customer buys”
It is six times easier to sell to an existing customer than to sell to a new one, yet businesses spend more time finding new customers than going back to their exiting ones to see if there was something else with which they can help them. The best place to find gold is in a gold mine!
One business owner told me how a client they hadn’t heard from in 3 years had called him. The owner thanked them for contacting them again after all this time, but the enquirer had not realised they had used him before. It was just luck that this customer had called him again, but how many others had forgotten him and gone somewhere else?
If you do not stay in contact with your customers, why should they stay in contact with you?
There are many ways you can stay in contact with your customers until they need your services again. Here are some examples:
It starts with the follow-up after the first sale. This could be as simple as a ‘Thank You’ card, or for more expensive services, an appropriate gift. Real Estate agents often send a bouquet of flowers to a buyer of a new property (often provided free by the local florist who wants to introduce themselves to the new resident).
Newsletters are a popular way of staying in contact. Your newsletter could contain ‘How to’ information that your customers can use. It could also include seasonal offers or specials.
You could send them a card. If you know their birthday, send them a birthday card. Many businesses collect this information as part of their service. For example mortgage brokers need that information for loan applications. A restaurant could offer customers a free meal on their birthday. (Of course no one will come alone for a meal on their birthday!)
Give your clients a regular “How is it going?” call. You will surprised how often such a call uncovers new opportunities for you. You could also take them to lunch.
Why not send them an article you think may be of interest to your clients? Or even a joke.
This is all about staying ‘top of mind’ with your customers so that whenever they need a service you can provide, they think of you first.
This is all about building a relationship with your clients so they don’t want to do business with anyone else. Coffee shops should remember the names of their regulars, and make them feel special.
Loyalty programs in some businesses are also a great way of retaining clients. Airlines do this very effectively with Frequent Flyer programs. Customers will actually accept mild timetable inconvenience or even higher prices to maximise their points. In a coffee shop it could be as simple as a card that is stamped so that every sixth cup of coffee is free.
For your most loyal customers you could have a VIP program that provides special service in recognition of the business they give you.
Finally you need a way to track all this. Businesses that excel at this Profit Driver use Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) to manage and track their follow-up programs.
- Create a database of your existing customers
- List the ways you can stay in touch with them
- Set up a routine plan to maintain contact with your customers
Dr Greg Chapman is the author of the award winning best seller, The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success. Visit Empower Business Solutions to learn more about marketing your business and a free preview of his book.