The following post comes to us from Keith Coppersmith, an experienced business consultant who serves small businesses and startups.
Customer expectations are starting to hit all-time highs with as much as 76 percent of consumers saying that it is easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. With those numbers bound to go up in the coming years, customers are going to become more and more empowered, which means making sure you develop good relationships with them is going to be essential for your business to survive and thrive. So, in order to help you out, today we are going to take a look at four ways to improve sales and follow up techniques by improving the relationships you have with your customers.
1. Improve your customer service
For a small business, every customer counts. This means that you can’t afford to lose any loyal customers to your competition. On top of this, recent years have shown that one of the most effective ways to grow your business is by selling more to current customers and the way to go about achieving this is through customer service. Providing a platform on which your customers can ask for help as well as voice their concerns, will make them feel appreciated and cared for, making it a lot more likely that they will stick with your business. This will also help you define and convey your brand image and company values to your customers, forming a public opinion of your company as one that really puts their customers first.
The other big and often unappreciated value customer service can bring to your business is the way in which it can help you gather and track customer opinions about your business. Having this source of constant feedback will prove invaluable, as it will allow you to know which aspects of your business you may need to change or improve. If used to its full potential, this information will give you the competitive edge you need to grow and rise above your competition.
2. Send thank you cards
Most companies nowadays are opting to use email to send their customers special offers, deals, thank you cards and even birthdays cards, but receiving actual mail can be very refreshing and have a deeper impact on your customers. That being said, to make sure the mail you sent doesn’t end up in the trash before it’s even opened, you will have to put a certain amount of money and effort into crafting it. The more time you put into it, the more it will be appreciated and thus have a better result. Because of this, it can be wise to seek professional help from specialized graphic design businesses like PostcardMania to make sure the cards you send have the desired results.
3. Give away free stuff
Giving away free promotional products has been a valuable marketing method that many companies have been using for a very long time. The reason behind this is simple, everyone likes to get free stuff, so why not use that to your advantage? Whether it’s t-shirts, cups or pens, when people receive a product with your brand’s name on it, they are going to form a positive opinion about your business. This will lead to them either actively using those products and in the process doing additional free marketing for you, or spreading the word about how great your business is to their co-workers, friends or family. To realize this technique to its full potential, you can create a system that will reward your customers for their loyalty to your business. This won’t only encourage them to keep doing business with you but will also help you organically grow your customer base and improve sales.
Finally, one of the things modern customers value more than anything is the personalization of the interactions they have with your business. If you are able to keep track of your customer’s preferences or even just to remember their names when talking to them, you will be able to start building a personal relationship with them. If they feel valued as your customer, the chances are they will continue doing business with you and you minimize the chances of them going to your competitors as they will have to establish that relationship again from scratch. This will not only lead to having more customers but to higher revenue from each of those customers as research found that they are 44 per cent more likely to engage with your business again.
At the end of the day, it’s far less costly and more profitable to build strong relationships with your current customers in order to retain them than to do everything in your power to attract new ones. The ideas listed here are only a few of many you can use to better the relationships you have with your customers in order to improve your sales and follow up techniques but giving them a shot will definitely be worth the while.
About the Author: Keith Coppersmith is an Adelaide based business consultant with a degree in Media Management. With experience in numerous small businesses and startups, he enjoys giving advice on all things marketing.