Tips to Solidify Repeat Customers
Far too many sales people invest an inordinate amount of time into acquiring new customers and forget about the best source of business, namely the one, which is right under their noses, their current customer base. When proper long term, mutually beneficial, sustainable relationships are fostered with your current customers they become a fantastic source of both new and on-going business. It astounds me to see how many sales people are content to lose a portion of their customers every year. Yes they still achieve their sales targets, but doing so requires huge effort and the acquisition of new customers.
Retain your customers
Imagine what could be achieved, if you managed to keep all your existing customers each year and you obtained new customers too? Yes of course all sales relationships change over time, they all require nurturing from both ends to strengthen and grow. The secret to keeping your existing customers happy is to ensure that you consistently work to solidify the relationship and build customer loyalty. By doing this you not only get to retain your current customers, but you also enroll the services of a massive new sales force.
Qualify leads, Referrals and receive Edification
Your very satisfied customers become very powerful sales and marketing tools, which will provide you with new qualified leads, they can refer you to other prospects, provide you with testimonials and even edify you by calling people they know, who need exactly what you sell and telling them just how great both you and your product are.. When you understand just how powerful a tool your current customers are and you mine and support them correctly, you will be equipped to exponentially grow your sales.
Tips to help you solidify and build long term sustainable relationships with your customers:
Ask for Negative feedback
I have heard so many sales people say that if the customer is not complaining, leave sleeping dogs lie. Only handle complaints when they come up. There could not be a more dangerous way of risking your relationship with your customers. Become proactive and ask your customers for negative feedback.
By asking for negative feedback you are showing your complete commitment to your customers and showing them that you are completely committed to constantly improving. When put into the right perspective, complaining customers are your best friend. Their expressing of their concerns means they are now out in the open and something can now be done to fix things and their complaint has offered you an opportunity to improve things too. Remember that businesses, which are not constantly improving, remain stagnate and eventually fail.
Show your customers that you are really concerned about their well-being and that you are sincerely interested in ensuring they get the best product and service. Make them feel comfortable and safe to offer their honest opinion, whether the message they bring is either good or bad. Use powerful leading questions like “What else can I do for you”? or “Is there a way we could do things better”? or “How can we make things easier for you”? or “Are there any challenges, we could help you eliminate”?. I am sure you can think of a few other questions, which would make your customers feel comfortable, yet allow them to open up to you.
Offer plenty and still exceed their expectations with additional value
As you know value, is that element within your customers mind, where the price they pay is lower than what they perceive to get in return. Always ask the question “How can I add additional value to my customers”? Keep searching for new creative and innovative ways to do this and you will, have a really powerful tool available to keep your customers happy. As you consistently deliver more than expected, your product and service performs better, lasts longer, the cost to your customer becomes less and less.
As the cost drops and the perceived value increases, so too does the customers loyalties towards you increase too. Value brings your customers reassurance and comfort. When you are able to exceed your customers’ expectations and you can show them increased perceived value, you create a form of obligation and a sense of loyalty with them.
Exceed Expectations with better Information
No matter how simple your product or service may be, there is always an informational component. Always strive to completely understand your customer’s specific needs and ensure that you provide them with all the right, specific information they need to fully understand the value you bring and how this will support them. The more clearly you explain things and keep your customers informed, the easier it will be for them to see how to use your product or service optimally and see the real value it brings.
Give the right information to solidify your customers, by ensuring that they will have fewer or no problems at all. Keep your customers informed and show them how to get the most from your product or service. Show them how to maintain results or help support them to get better and better results.
Exceed expectations with additional products or services
Try to be innovative with your thinking here and try to come up with tangible items you can give to your customers to cement the relationship and show your commitment and understanding of their business. I constantly give all my customers books, audio books and free seminar tickets, related to any area I believe would support them to improve themselves or their businesses.
You can also try to cross sell other products or up-sell your customers other products or services, which will help them. The secret to make a success of this approach is to ensure that you are selling them something because it will really improve their position and add real value to them or their business. If your motive for cross selling or up selling is a selfish need to earn commission, then as you imagine it is doomed to failure and may even damage the relationship with your customer.
Consistently explore better ways to follow-up
Nothing impresses customers and builds influence and trust with them better than immediate follow-up to ensure that the product or service is up to standard and meeting their needs and expectations. The best way to ensure that you do this regularly and timely is to have a system and a time scheduled daily to do this with all your customers.
Have a system set up where you follow-up on deliveries with despatch daily, ensure that all deliveries are on time and if there are any challenges follow-up and advise your customer as soon as possible, before they need to phone you to ask what is wrong.
Phone every customer, within reason and thank them for any orders they have placed daily. Of course you may not be able to do this with every customer, but as a rule of thumb, you must call every one of your top 20 customers, every time they place an order to thank them for the order and to ensure that everything is as it should be. This is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways of consistently impressing your customers. It is also an opportunity to show them you really care and you are constantly thinking of them and their needs.
Look around your own sales environment and look for other innovative ways to follow-up with your customers. The better you become at this the more your customers will connect with you and the harder it will be for your competitors to take the business away from you. You will become an integral part of your customers business; they will become to depend on you.
Make every part exceptional, especially the last part
Behavioural scientists have conducted extensive experiments, where they have shown that the most memorable part of any transaction is the last part. Therefore, it is crucial that you work to make every transaction, every order your customer places with your organisation as memorable and pleasant as possible. This is achieved by knowing what is going on with your customers at every level, irrespective of whether it is your direct responsibility or not.
Know how the accounts department deals with your customers, if there are any issues, ensure that you are involved at every level, ensure that you are aware of all dispatch and supply issues and that you clearly communicate everything to your customers. This sounds like a tall order, but in fact it is very simple to achieve, when you have a system and a schedule in place daily to ensure that this happens. Make every transaction with your organisation as simple as possible and you will have a sea of loyal, repeat customers. Allow things to get out of control and you will lose customers faster than you can replace them.
Constantly re-assure your customers they have made the right decision by choosing to buy from you
Buyer’s remorse is a reality for everyone who buys anything and people often doubt their decision for buying. Especially if the transaction continues over an extended period and is for a large sum of money. I constantly update my customers with reports on the progress we are making with each student we work with. This way they can see the incremental progress each person is making and so they do not feel like they have made a mistake. The results achieved from my sales training programmes are not instant; there is a short lag between learning and higher earning, so I ensure that I constantly show progress.
- How can you ensure that your customers avoid experiencing buyer’s remorse, after buying one of your products or services? A simple phone call reassuring your customer goes a long way towards reassuring them and showing them you really care.
- The simple act of calling your customers after receiving an order, where you express appreciation, thanking them for the business, is a great place to start. This call is often most effective, when it comes from the top of the organisation. Never ever try to sell something to them on this call.
- Contact your customers as often as reasonable, during the sales process and most importantly, again once the sale is complete.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for negative feedback. Confirm that their experience has been satisfactory and ensure that they feel that they got the value they expected. This approach will ensure that they will return the next time they need to order a similar product or service.
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