23
Apr

Customers are the most likely future customers

Customers are the most likely future customers. There are many studies that show this to be true. They are cheaper to acquire than new customers, and this is partly because they are easier to influence. After all they are already in the habit of buying from you.

We came across an article by Karl Bryan the American trainer who covers this area. This is some of what he says on the subject ;

“….. many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers.  These are people you already know to be a good sales potential. They’ve already bought from you!”

So it is important to take the time to market and sell new products to your existing and lapsed customers. Spend less time trying to sell old products to new customers, and you will see improvements in sales, customer quality and brand position. Karl Bryan offers this useful list with some added notes from us to make sure you retain your current customers ;

1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, and in person. Keep them posted on what you are doing : new products and services etc.

2. Post-Purchase Relationship Building: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel  you have a genuine interest in them and their experiences with your product or service.  How many times do sales people lose interest the minute they get the order. Something as simple as a Thank
You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.

3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business and help them to get the best deals and advice. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option if their spend warrants it. It’s about making them feel special, valued. It all helps.

4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of half-hearted rubbish sales people. So the more they can trust you to do waht you say when you say you’ll do it, the more the relationship will build, and the more they will trust you.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
. Quality product/service
. Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
. Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offer them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success. Don’t waste all your time on new prospects while your current customers become someone else’s new accounts.

As the well known motivational speaker Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers.”

Good words Jay.

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28
Nov

Avoid mixed messages – check their understanding

One of the easiest traps to fall into – particularly if you supply a technical or complicated product or service is to assume that everyone else knows as much about it as you do. Remember that you talk about your products and services all day every day, and so you’re well versed in what they are. However for some of your customers of course, they may only enter the market every few years, and so their knowledge may be patchy.

One of the modules To Market www.tomarket.co.uk covers on training is mixed messages. This is all about understanding that the message you send is not necessarily the same message they receive. There will be an audio CD on this subject released on this among the next batch, likely to be available during Q1 next year 2009. You will be able to find it by following this link http://www.associatedlearningsystems.co.uk/product_list.asp?Section=TELEPHONE%20COMMUNICATION%20SKILLS as it will be among the telephone communication skills section.

So remember to ask questions of the person you are talking to. This will keep them involved in the communication process and will help you get clear on whether they understand what you are saying. Don’t work on the assumption that they will ask if they don’t understand either, as most people don’t do this. It’s a bit like ‘the Emperor’s new clothes.’ People don’t like to look silly. Rather than ask, they will simply lose interest.

Another tip is to describe things in a colourful way, use other everyday examples of simple things which we can all relate to. These mental pictures often stick with people longer than the actual message ! 

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31
Oct

Marketing advice for tough times !

The business environment is challenging at the moment. We all know that. Customers are harder to find and total spend in many sectors is down.

One of the current pieces of wisdom is to cut down on all your indirect marketing, advertising etc. Indirect marketing covers anything where you don’t get a dialogue with your customer. Instead switch all your activity to direct forms of contact. So this may mean bringing your field based sales team into the office to hit the phones. Or make sure your office based sales team have enough people to call, and then let them loose. By focusing on telephone activity you will get a feel for what is happening in your market, who is thinking of spending, who isn’t and an update on their current situation.

By understanding more about what is happening in your market, the easier it will be to find potential customers and to plot future trends. Now is the time to be talking to all customers, past, lapsed, competitor accounts and anyone else who may have a need for your services, either now or in the future.  

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