I want to focus on realizing the power of your existing customer base! When meeting and discussing with business owners, I often hear “we need to get new customers…” To which I say absolutely, but what are you doing with your current customers! It is a fact that most business owners refuse to change their ways when it comes to marketing to their existing clients. It truly is an untapped source of potential new leads, and repeat sales, etc…
A while back I was once told that the average person knows approximately 200 people, and on average you could connect to just about anyone around the world within 3 levels of your network…. (you know someone, who knows someone who knows someone…)
Before we dive in, here is a relevant quote…
“Networking is more about “farming” then it is about “hunting”. It’s about cultivating relationships.” – Dr. Ivan Misner.
Your customer should be seen as your greatest asset!
If you have invested a lot of time and financial resources to acquiring new customers, you may want to allocate some of those resources into reselling, up-selling and cross-selling to those same customers! If you think about it, you have already paid to acquire these customers, do something about that. Know that your relationship with your existing customers is the number one asset you could have as a business owner, though you may not realize it yet. The hard part is done, they found you and they bought from you… what will you do for them now?
Ideas on how to secure a customer relationship:
- One of the easiest ways is keeping in touch, either by phone, email, newsletter, mail, etc… You want to make your customer feel special and appreciated and that you take a special interest in seeing to their needs.
- After sale follow-up: Setup a system where you or one of your staff contact your customers several days after purchase and see how is it going.
- Give access to your existing and old clients a “pre-sale”, this would allow them the opportunity to purchase your sale items before the general public does.
- Be transparent, honest and truthful!
- Talk and get to know your customers. Setup a system where you can get some basic information about your clients at the point of purchase.
- Consider setting up a loyalty card, ex: buy 6 coffees, #7 is free, or every 5 visits gives you a 15% discount…
- Set up a referral system.
- Ask and share testimonials.
This past weekend, I was in a small town, North-East of Toronto (Madoc, ON) for a Family Ice Fishing Trip, when going to the small local bait shop to renew my fishing license I was absolutely amazed at how the lady handled her little shop. She treated me not like a client but as if I was a long lost relative. Every local client that came in, she knew exactly who they were, how she could help them out and would simply have a normal and friendly conversation with everyone. My cousin took me out to this bait shop which was nearly 15-20 minutes out of the way mainly because the service is better there, and he simply likes going there more. I even stuck around a few minutes to watch how she handled a crowd of people all needing assistance all by herself. It was quite a site, no one was upset, everyone was smiling and laughing the whole time. She may not know it, but we could all learn a thing or two from this lady.
She has this down to an art, and probably barely spends a dime on marketing, in the few minutes I was there talking, I also discovered that she gets involved in her community and even organizes events that are relevant for her existing customers ( fishing derby’s, contest ect…)
Obviously, the store was clean, organized, welcoming and she took advantage of some great merchandising strategies by grouping relevant products together, giving the illusion of a “package deal” even though it wasn’t. I was even tempted to go back to see if I could buy anything else, I know I will at my next fishing trip in that area.
Moral of that story, is people do business with ethical people they can trust. Without fully interviewing her, I could almost guaranty that she grew her business using exclusively her existing clients who are repeat buyers and bring in other clients because of the amazing service and experience.
I could go into a lot more details and more strategies about how to use your existing clients, but I will save that for a future Marketing TIPS article.