Many business owners find that despite delivering excellent products or services and having satisfied clients their business still feels like a rollercoaster. By focusing a bit of attention on ensuring your existing clients keep coming back you can help iron out the peaks and troughs ensuring your sales become more stable and regular.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts it’s around 6 times more cost effective to sell to existing clients hence it surprises me that I speak to owners every week that don’t take the time to invite their customers back, instead they’re sitting back on the off-chance that they may return on their own.
Turn clients into ‘Raving Fans’
Raving Fans are those loyal clients who think you’re wonderful and can’t stop telling everyone about your business. They also send friends and family your way, meaning you not only benefit from their repeat business, but from their referrals too.
Start by making people who give you business for the second time ‘members’. This gives them a sense of belonging, makes them feel ‘special’ and moves them one rung up the loyalty ladder. Membership might mean a loyalty card system or being added to your newsletter mailing list to receive special offers.
The next step is taking people from being ‘members’ to ‘advocates’ by giving them continued great service. Being ‘advocates’ means they start selling you to others and bringing you referrals. ‘Advocates’ are one step away from being ‘raving fans’, who are like extensions of your sales team.
Getting people to be ‘raving fans’ requires delivering a ‘wow’ experience to them every time they interact with you, it’s about going far beyond what they expect from you.
Create enticing offers
To get people coming back, you need to put together great offers that they can’t resist however it is obviously important that their business is still profitable for you (though you may also need to be prepared to take a smaller profit in the short term to get your customers’ long-term loyalty).
Think about the types of offers you’ve seen that make you want to respond and remember what we’re talking about here is PERCEIVED value not necessarily ACTUAL value.
Here are a few examples of good offers:
• For a health spa looking to grow its database: a free 15-minute head, neck and shoulder massage when you book a pedicure.
• For a printing company looking to grow customer loyalty: 20% off the cost of customers’ second order over a certain value.
• For a website hosting company: 20% discount on website hosting costs for customers who pay six months’ hosting fees upfront.
Strategies for repeat business
Another option to consider when encouraging repeat business is to host closed-door sales (i.e. sales that are not open to the general public, but only to members). Many retailers including The Body Shop for example do this very successfully, but the idea is applicable to other businesses too. If you run a café or restaurant, why not host a ‘members-only’ wine tasting event?
Also think about whether it makes sense to have a loyalty programme. This has proven to be successful for large organisations like the airlines, hotels and retailers for years but it can also work for small companies too and it may well work for you. Success relies on how strong your offer is, whether or not you’re providing satisfaction to clients continually, how convenient it is for customers to use and staff buy-in. By that I mean that the strategy will flop if you and all your staff don’t implement it and take it seriously. Make sure that customers are continually made aware of it, and that it comes into play during every sale.
Of course, to ensure you keep getting repeat business, you need to keep working at it, as always test, measure, adjust, and above all, keep taking action.