I was reading Tony Rubleski’s blog, Why CustomerService is Vital to Marketing Success, on Indysmallbiz.com and was quite taken with the above line , “when you show up often, often good things happen.” It’s not exactly the way he said it but it’s pretty close. The point was, staying in front of you old customers is extremely valuable and all you have to do is show up! Why do we have such trouble showing up and yet run after new customers that we don’t even know?
Maybe it’s the excitement of a new score, the capture, maybe the hunt. “I bagged another one says the hunter.” Salespeople have been so conditioned to grow their customer list that they may not realize the potential that exists in obtaining repeat sales from existing customers. Whatever the reason, one of the best ways to increase your sales that won’t cost you a dime is to stay in touch with your old or previously sold customers. Not that you shouldn’t grow your customer list, that’s another part of your sales strategy.
Last week I needed a plumber so I asked my next door neighbor for a referral. While the plumber was cleaning the tub drain the pipe broke and the water came through the ceiling. He has been “coming back to replace several other pipes” and it’s now one week later. Here I sit with a hole in my ceiling. It occurred to me that I should have contacted Anthony who fixed my roof and renovated my downstairs apartment. How stupid of me! Why hadn’t I called him, I had just forgotten. When I called Anthony about the ceiling he said, we talked about the drain and I was going to call you. There it is, a missed opportunity for both of us. I trust him and his workers to be in my house and he works like lightening.
Here are 5 ways to stay in touch with your old customers.
1.Call existing customers and just check up on the products you sold or the services you delivered. Ask how it’s working out and do they need anything else? You might also ask if they have anyone else that might need your services. While Anthony was talking to me I remembered that Phil across the street said he needed a plumber and wasn’t going to call mine! In a flash I gave him Anthony’s phone number and they’ve connected. All Anthony had to do was to make a phone call to me.
2. Vicci Hall with ERA Real Estate Professional in Ridgeland, Miss. selects 50 past clients with whom she has a close realtionship and sends them a special letter, which she calls a “Letter From My Heart.” this handwritten not includes inspirational stores or focuses on a special holiday or event. This is very interesting and apparently works. Followup with a holiday phone call, just to say hello. You don’t have to try and sell them you just need to stay in touch regularly.
3. Get creative. Invite your best customers to your home for a party, yes your home. Halloween is a great holiday, people get to be “their other self. Any kind of party will do.
4. If yours is a service industry, such as remodeling, builder or real estate, create a binder of photos of their project as well as an extra copy of their paper work and give it to them at the end of the project. Many people misplace their paperwork so this will be an unexpected gift.
5. Connect with your customers on Facebook. You can follow what is going on in their lives from knowing who is having a baby to where they’re spending their holidays. You will find plenty of ways to connect with out being pushy.
Sometimes all it take is to “show up.” The “show up season” is upon us.
Lisbeth Calandrino is a trainer, speaker and business coach. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service gives business owners and salespeople ideas for connecting and adding value to the sales process.