March 26, 2012
As we all know, customers can and will make or break a business. Building a productive customer base is no easy task these days. And since selling to an already established customer is easier and more cost effective then trying to bring in a new customer. You need to know what you can do to keep your customers coming back.
Below are ten strategies for keeping your existing customers and getting more sales. Although some of these tips might seem obvious, they are not always practiced.
1. Always Be Respectful – Never insult your customers or lose your cool, so to speak. No matter how rude or insulting a customer may get, you must always be in control and be respectful. The same holds true with your competitors. Never badmouth other companies to your customers. Not only is this unprofessional, but it shows a degree of desperation that your customer will surely notice. The customer will only respect and admire a company (you) if you are courteous to all.
2. Show You Care – Be attentive to your customer’s needs and wants. Share your knowledge and answer all their questions. Actually be interested in what they are saying and find solutions to their problems. Let them know how you and your products can help them. Do not act like you are bored or want to be somewhere else. I have come across this, a few times and believe you me it makes you want to go somewhere else, as quickly as possible!
3. Build Relationships – Get to know your customers. Don’t be afraid to get a little personal. Send the customer a hand-written note or offer to let them know when a special sale or deal becomes available. If a customer feels they know you, they will be much more likely to trust you and stick with you.
4. Meet the Customer’s Needs – Customers need to know that you know what you are talking about. They need to feel confident that you are going to give them what they need. They also need options, information, respect, understanding and control. Give the customer all the options available and let them know how you can best meet their needs. Don’t make them feel pressured or pushed. If you meet all their needs and you’re friendly, you will get repeat business.
5. After the Sale Service – I have had people ask me if they could still email me after they purchased my product. Unfortunately, they had previously dealt with people who talked them into a sale but then pretty much disappeared. People who do this just completely baffle me. How they can treat a customer like this and continue to stay in business is a mystery. But most likely, they are not in business very long. It just isn’t possible to treat customers this way and expect them to come back. Always make your customers feel they can contact you anytime they have questions or comments. Make yourself easily available to them.
6. Appreciate and Value Your Customer – If not for your customers you would not be in business. So many people tend to forget this. Always make sure your customer knows that you appreciate them and value their patronage. Have a “Customer Appreciation” day for your customers. Give them a nice little personalized gift of appreciation. An appreciated customer is a happy (and a return) customer!
7. Be Consistent and Reliable – If you say you are going to do something, then do it. If you promise a weekly newsletter, be sure to get one out every week. If you promise sales and special offers, come through on those offers. Show your customers you can be trusted and that they can rely on you to come through.
8. Stay in Contact – Periodically contact your customers to see how they are doing and if they need anything from you. Send them greeting cards to let them know they are not forgotten. These little things will make a big impact on a customer.
9. Be Competitive – Being friendly and nice is essential, but you also need to stay competitive with other companies in your niche. Keep abreast of news and new products and/or services, etc. in your market. Keep an eye on your competitors and make sure you offer the best services and products at the best prices.
10. The Extra Mile – Do little extras for your customers anytime you get the chance. Your customers will appreciate it and become regulars. Remember the Golden Rule and live it!
Interacting with your customers can be a very rewarding experience. Just treating them with respect and truly caring about what you can do for them will make a big difference in how they react to you and if they will come back. Always remember, you need them more than they need you!
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