One of the biggest trends in business today is Client Relationship Management. Businesses big and small are realizing they have to work even harder to keep the customers they have. Customers have more choices available to them, more options to find the products they need, than ever before. This is primarily due to advances in technology and specifically the internet. We can research and compare products and services without even leaving our homes. Now the focus of marketing to existing customers is getting them involved.
The more a customer is involved in your business, the less likely they are to go elsewhere. If they have a vested interest in your business, they are less likely to easily turn to a competitor. For instance, think about the options you have with your bank. Many banks have a significant number of online options available to you. With online bill pay systems, you can make payments through your bank without ever having to buy a check or a stamp. This is a great service for you the customer. But it takes time and effort to input all that information online to set up those account to enable you to make those payments. Once you have that set up, you are not likely to suddenly decide you would rather have your account somewhere else. It will take a lot of consideration on your part before you throw away that time you have invested to go to another bank. Your bank is counting on that.
So, how do you get your clients involved? This is the “Holy Grail” quest in your business. You have to look at how you interact with customers and decide how you can get them involved with your business. In Direct Sales, there are two immediate things you can do to start connecting with your existing customers and increase your sales.
Your first step should be to let them know what you are doing on a regular basis. Many businesses do this through a newsletter. Technology makes this even easier (and much less expensive) by using email for your delivery. This may seem too simple, but a newsletter keeps your customers involved with you personally. You keep your information in front of them on a monthly basis. So, when they need your product or service, your name is the one they remember. It is common knowledge that a client needs to have ten points of contact with you on an annual basis for you to keep them as a client. A monthly newsletter will cover that with no problem.
A second step you can take is to develop a database on your clients. This can be done just by asking your client to fill out a simple customer care card. Go beyond the normal contact questions of mailing address and phone number. Ask them to give you their birthdays and anniversaries. Also encourage them to make a wish list of all of your products they would like to have. Use this information to offer them birthday specials on the products they want. Or call their spouse to offer suggestions for anniversary gifts. Make their shopping simple, and they will keep coming back to you.
A third step to keep the client involved is some version of a punch card. (You can find a great customer care card/punch card combination at thebooster.com.) Many businesses use punch card to keep their customers coming back to them. I have seen them used for anything from pizzas to oil changes. Consider your product line. What would be more effective for you? Should you give them a free gift if they spend a certain dollar amount punching their card in, say, $20 increments? Would it be better to punch their card per item? Tailor your system to give your customer value for their continuing loyalty to you.
These are just a few ideas to help you reach out to your customer base. They are there, waiting for you to ask for their business. They already know you and your products. It should only take a little more effort on your part to capitalize on the time and effort you have already expended to make them customers the first time. Consider other options like thank you notes and postcards to keep them coming back. Make their lives (and shopping) easier, and they will remember you for it.
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Deanna Mayer is the stay at home mother of two. When she isn’t carting her boys around their Denver suburb, she is busy building her ideal career at www.itvventures.com/dlm. She is currently launching her newest product line, Naked Minerals, the first 100% pure pressed mineral cosmetics at www.GoaheadgetNaked.com.