Dec 142011

The best person to buy from you today was the person who bought from you yesterday…

It costs about 7 times more to sell to a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, therefore, to realize that if you can keep your existing customers for the long term then your profits are going to be much higher – plus you won’t have to spend a huge amount of time and effort wondering how to get business in through the door. Below are a few strategies to help you keep hold of the customers you have.

Consistency and reliability is the key.

Ask anyone who has run a business successfully and they will confirm that being consistent and reliable is key to the success of a business. Clients don’t want to be wondering if they’re going to visit you on a ‘good service’ day or a ‘bad service’ day; they just want good all the time so give it to them.

Ask people to come back.

Studies have shown that people forget you if they haven’t heard from you within 3 months. If they need to buy what you sell and you haven’t contacted them in the intervening time then the chances are they just as likely to go elsewhere as come to you. So, make sure you keep in contact via email or letter and give people a reason to keep coming back. You could send out special offer emails or you could do what a lot of coffee houses do and have a loyalty card (the 5th visit gets a special deal or free offer). Simple but it works. If you run a service business then make sure you book in the next visit while finishing off the present one – that increases the link between you and them.

Hold regular customer events.

This is a great way to maintain the customer relationship and can also be a fantastic way of advertising your business more widely. Customer events make your customers feel special and they also allow you to interact on a more social level and build rapport. Create special offer deals that the customers can only take advantage of by being at the event and, when you send out the invitations, always include a spare one so that they can bring a friend who can then be converted into a new customer.

Don’t forget – whichever strategies you decide to use you must test and measure the results if you’re going to understand what’s going on and how you’re improving your profits. Only by knowing what’s working and what isn’t can you really get the money coming in.