Many businesses spend a lot of time and money trying to get new clients. It seems to be an ongoing process. So much time is spent generating leads, having conversations, submitting proposals, trying to close the sale. Unfortunately, I witness many businesses not spending as much time trying to get their existing clients to return. Once you have a customer why not spend some resources to get them to spend more with you? There have been studies performed that indicate it takes six times more time and money to get a new customer, than it does to get an existing customer to come back and spend more money. It seems obvious, but treating your current clients in a special way can make all the difference in the world. So what are you doing to get your clients to come back? Here are some simple things to consider that seem obvious but in many cases are ignored.
• Be consistent and reliable — One bad experience can ruin your relationship. And the risk of them telling others about their bad experience is high. Do not get complacent. Always give them your best and rectify issues swiftly and satisfactorily.
• Stay in contact — My rule of thumb is to be in contact with every one of your clients at least every 90 days. This can be done through phone calls, mailings, newsletters, special offers and business announcements. Whatever the way, stay in touch. This will require you to maintain a customer data base with all their contact information.
• Frequent buyer programs — This, of course, has been used by the airlines for quite some time now. And there are many other businesses that have jumped on board with a similar program. How can you leverage such a program in your business?
• Thank you notes — When was the last time you made a significant purchase and received a thank you note? When was the last time you sent them to your clients? Pretty sad isn’t it. Send out thank you notes regularly. Your customers will take notice.
• Increase you product/service range — The more you offer them the more reasons they have to come back and buy. Think of complementary products or services to your existing offerings. This is particularly important if your business sells things that people buy irregularly or every few years.
• Ask them to come back — Seems ridiculous to say this but many businesses ignore the opportunity. There are some businesses that do this very well. Hair solons and dentists come to mind. They don’t let you leave until you make your next appointment. How can you use this concept in your business?
• Closed door sales — When you invite your clients to an “exclusive” event it makes them feel special. This is not open to anyone, just your clients. It makes them feel like a member of the family.
It’s important that whatever strategies you use to get your clients to come back that they are implemented consistently. Doing these things on a hit or miss basis does not work. If you are not consistent, at some point your clients will get the sense of indifference. They will get the feeling that you just don’t care. That’s when they go to your competition. So go the extra mile to make your customers feel special. It will pay off in increased sales and profits for you.