It astounds my clients when I show them how many sales and money they leave on the table from not servicing their existing customers effectively.
Most businesses are obsessed with getting new leads and pour all their marketing money into lead generation while they literally forget about their existing customers.
I’m sure you’ve heard that it’s easier to sell to an existing customer than to land a new one. In a recent study Gartner said:
“65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs
5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.”
Some sources say the cost to attract new customers is anything between 3 – 30 times more expensive than the cost of keeping an existing customer, depending on the business + the industry you’re in.
One would think that business owners are obsessed with building a sustainable business model and investing in strategies to keep their customers happy and coming back for more, but it’s most often not the case.
I would like to challenge you this year to focus the bulk of your attention and resources on your existing customers and extending their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).
Be prepared to be amazed at how quickly your business grows when you actively
search for ways to serve your customers better and wowing their socks off.
Existing customers already know, like and trust you that’s why they buy from you… but then after the sale most business owners give them NOTHING… not a thank-you card, a follow-up call or an email.
Worse, business owners also don’t bother following up months later to re-do services, offer replacements, upgrades or up-sells but you’ll never run be stuck in the feast-famine cycle again, if you build relationships through small consistent action over time.
19 EASY WAYS TO MAKE MORE SALES AND WOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
Let’s look at 2 real life examples to explain how easy it is to get it right… or wrong.
How to get it WRONG – a Pest Control company.
We’ve used a pest control company in 2015 to remove spiders around the house. They said the treatment would last about 12 months, and it did.
The easiest sell in the world for them would have been to email or call me 10-11 months later and ask me if I wanted to re-do the treatment. The answer would have been Yes because they did a great job and I was a happy customer.
Instead, I had to call them in 2016 to organise another treatment. This time they sent out an inexperienced person to apply the treatment who started before all the doors and windows were closed and he was finished in just 15 minutes.
No one called afterwards to hear if I was happy or needed anything else. Two weeks after the treatment I still found new cobwebs and spiders inside the house.
Then the huge struggle started to get hold of them to redo the service as it was still under warranty.
It was just before Christmas and after many phone calls and emails without reply, I decided to wait till I was back from holiday in January. In January, the owner told me they’ve been bought out by a larger company and complained about how tough the economy was.
Are you kidding me?! Of course times will be tough if you don’t deliver a quality service, don’t apologise for incompetent staff or the inconvenience caused and if you let customers chase you.
HOW TO DO IT BETTER
1. Deliver a quality product or service. This should go without saying but I feel compelled to remind business owners to ensure that they themselves, their staff and suppliers know how to deliver a quality product or service.
2. Care about your customers
Call customers after a product was sold (if appropriate), or after a project or service has been completed for feedback and to iron out any potential issues. If you did a good job, you might even get a glowing testimonial to use in future marketing material.
3. If your type of product/ service needs replacement or upgrades e.g. software upgrades, water filter seal replacements, patio or pest treatments, schedule reminders to follow up with customers at regular intervals.
To do this, you can use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that links to your calendar or simply schedule reminders straight into your calendar. Capsulecrm.com is a CRM system with a free option for up to 250 contacts and a small monthly fee for more contacts.
It integrates with MailChimp, a marketing automation tool that allows you to send out newsletters and bulk email your customers. MailChimp also has a free version.
4. If a customer complains, fix the problem! Do it as quickly as possible and offer them something for the inconvenience your company caused them e.g. discount voucher or a free product or sample, if applicable. Mostly, people just want to be heard and acknowledged. Use their feedback to train your team and to improve your processes and systems.
5. Make it as easy as possible for customers to get hold of you or someone who can help them to solve their problem. Don’t hide your contact details or force people to complete a contact form. If people can’t get hold of you, they take their business elsewhere.
How to get it RIGHT – a Mortgage Broker
We met a lovely broker in 2010 when we built a house in Perth, Western Australia. Nadija was so friendly and knowledgeable – a real pleasure to work with – if she promised us an email tomorrow, we received it today.
What could have been a frustrating process to organise a mortgage in a new country, became hassle-free and dare I say… enjoyable?
6. After our business was completed, we received complimentary tickets in the post to the screening of a new movie which was a complete surprise to us and added an extra WOW-factor to her already outstanding service.
7. Thereafter we received the occasional postcard in the post
8. A personalised email on our birthdays
9. A simple email with interest rate updates whenever applicable
10. And a quarterly newsletter with actual useful information (gasp!) for six years in a row.
Because her marketing was always well timed and useful, I never felt the need to unsubscribe from her newsletter, unlike many other businesses who bombard you with emails. (I once received 15 emails in 7 days from one company… WTF?!)
11. Let customers know when you expand your product range or services. When she let us know that she’s expanding her services to include real estate sales and property management, we welcomed the news and told our friends.
Do you think we recommend her to everyone who wants to buy or sell a house? Hell yes!
And who do you think is the only person we use when buying an investment property?
You guessed it, and that is the power of nurturing existing customers over a 6-year period – be useful and provide VALUE.
HOW DO SMART COMPANIES MAKE MORE SALES?
12. Smart businesses like hair salons, beauty salons, spas, doctors, dentists, restaurants, coaches, consultants and many others all use appointment scheduling software to make it as easy as possible for customers to book appointments 24/7. Most software has a free version to get you going – have a look at 10to8.com, Calendly, SetMore etc.
13. They also use text reminders 1-2 days before the appointment with the option to text back to confirm or to call them if you need to change the booking. This ensures that they’re nearly always fully booked and give them time to fill a spot if someone cancels.
14. Smart businesses also keep waiting lists of people to call in case of a cancellation
15. Salons, spas, doctors etc. also tend to book the next appointment at the end of an appointment. The business who treated our patio locked in a date to re-do the treatment 6 months later on the day they finished the job and the business who installed the water filter lock in a date to replace the water filters every 6 months.
16. Create maintenance packages or retainer services. Our gardening guy mows the lawn every 3 weeks, come rain or shine. We’ve now used him for 4 years and he’s so busy with existing client work that he doesn’t have capacity to take on new clients unless he employs a team of people! This is a quality problem to have in your business.
17. Up-sell and cross-sell your customers. My husband and I don’t have green fingers and after all the plants in the back yard died AGAIN, our gardening guy asked if we would like a quote to fix up the flower beds. Of course we said Yes.
After he planted new plants and installed reticulation, he suggested we added the maintenance of this area to our existing lawn mowing services. We were super grateful and now have a blossoming garden like our neighbours.
TAKE 10 MIN TO BRAINSTORM IDEAS
It takes so little effort to keep existing customers happy and to stay light years ahead of your competition, take 10 minutes right now to brainstorm what you’ll focus on in the next 90 days.
1. Call your existing customers that bring in 80% of the revenue once every 90 days to touch base and hear where they are at. (if applicable to your business)
2. Send existing customers a personalised email with a heartfelt message once every 90 days or at least on their birthdays (use marketing automation tools if you have a large database)
3. Map out the marketing activities you plan to do to stay top of mind at the beginning of each quarter. This will help you stay focused and be more organised.
4. Send a handwritten note, postcard or inexpensive novel item to thank customers after a purchase.
5. Consider adding an inexpensive (and unexpected) item in the box of a physical product e.g. chocolate at the bottom of your Nespresso order, a material shoe bag for your leather shoes, toffees with your book order.
Start small and start today. Decide on ONE THING you’ll give attention to over the next 90 days.
What will you focus on first to start selling more to your existing customers? Leave your comment below.
Author: ALICIA MENKVELD Creator of: BUSINESS CONFIDENCE ACADEMY Alicia Menkveld, an award-winning entrepreneur for the last 17 years, loves to travel and lived on three continents to date. She is an international speaker, author and a trusted adviser to successful business owners and leaders. Alicia is an authority on business strategy, mindset and effectiveness for individuals and teams. Streamline your business to support your lifestyle.