Existing Customers Your Key to Survival
Most businesses concentrate on getting “new business”… thinking that new business is what is needed to grow. But when you forget your existing customers... well you are wasting your time and money chasing new ones.
Think about how hard you work to get a new client… the time and effort it takes to get them to purchase from you, or use your services.
They had to develop some sort of “trust” in you before they became your customer.
It’s hard work! And it can take you away from something much more important!
In the chase for new clientele, many businesses sadly forget to service their existing customers…
The “long term” relationships you can establish with your existing customers make the difference between “being” in business and succeeding in business… but maintaining such relationships requires some effort!
Stay in Touch
We’ve all lost some clients because we weren’t “in their face” enough while they we clients.
Sure… the job they commissioned us for was done, and everyone was happy, but things change… Over time, new faces, new ideas etc come into an organisation, and the new people have no idea why the company chose you to do something in the first place.
So when it’s time to “update”, who are they gonna call? Not you, because they have no idea of who you are, and no idea of your area of expertise!
Instead, they’ll reinvent the wheel and either start from scratch, or start with their own contacts…
And you WILL lose the repeat business.
Have you have some sort of “follow up” program in place? Have you got a method to keep in touch with your existing customers on a regular basis… to remind them that you are still around, that you are still an expert in your field, that you still have ideas and products that will be of interest to them?
They may not be in a position to buy at the time you contact them, but by staying in touch, they will contact you when they are ready to buy!
Provide Great Service
Go above an beyond the call of duty… that’s what makes you stand out in the minds of your customers, because you want to be in front of their minds next time they want to buy something!
Provide them with that little extra that the others don’t offer.
Generate New Business from The Old
In the process of drumming up new business, quite a significant proportion of it can come from referrals from existing satisfied customers – assuming they are satisfied :)
Now you can be happy to let the osmosis technique work for you slowly… Keep your customers happy and they do talk about you to their other business associates… or you can be a little more proactive and ask your customers for same names to follow up on and whether they would be a “referee”.
Remember… the trust has to be built to get a relationship established, and what makes you different here is the fact that you are already doing an excellent job for an associate of the new client you are approaching.
Generate More Business from The Old
Regularly keeping in touch with your clients means you stay aware of their changing needs and situations. When the time comes that they must make a buying decision, you’ll know it, and you can be there with your offer!
Using the Internet to Assist
Nothing beats “pressing the flesh” … the personal touch will always win hands down, but you don’t always have the time to devote to such follow up either in person or over the phone.
However, using the Internet and email, you can build up the basis of a good little support system to stay in touch with your customers, and it’s cheaper and easier than phone calls or mail.
A regular “newsy” email can easily be distributed and supplements the personal approach. Remember, people don’t have time to wade through email ramblings, so keep it short. If necessary, include links to longer descriptions that are on your web site (preferably in a “sealed” section accessible by username/password).
There’s a variety of software available that allows you to manage your “mailing list” from your computer. Most email software programs also have a “groups” function in the address book you could use with (very) small lists.
You worked hard to get your customers in the first place, so you better work at keeping them! It’s easer than chasing new ones!