Maximising Existing Clients
When considering expanding your business a good place to start is with your existing customer base. It is imperative to keep accurate and detailed records of all your clients’ right from the very start, as these will prove to be an invaluable asset in the long term. The more details you have about your clients the better. In addition to keeping, names, addresses and business data, logs of products and services purchased, additional information about hobbies, sports and personal preferences can enable your company or business to successfully target them with appropriate mail shots and marketing information at a future date.
Generally a lot of hard work goes into securing the first sale or order. It is important to build up a rapport with the client and to gain their trust and approval but to then continue to capitalise on all the hard work already undertaken, makes sound economic sense. A satisfied client can, through word of mouth and recommendations, generate a lot of new business on your behalf.
Frequent contact with your clients is, therefore, a necessity and can begin as early as a week after the initial sale or service provided to determine customer satisfaction. Any requests or complaints need to be taken seriously and dealt with promptly. It is a good idea to try and compensate anyone that has been unintentionally inconvenienced by your product or service. First impressions are important, therefore, build up a rapport with your clients and be seen to take their views on board. Ensure you can be contacted and always return calls, or designate particular members of staff to deal with specific customers.
Maintaining contact can be built in to take place at regular intervals in the future. There is a fine line between pestering people and advising them of new services/products you have to offer. Do not target customer en-masse but tailor new products to their needs. If sufficient relevant information has been documented from the start you will be aware which customers suit which products/services.
Using the personal touch will not go amiss, such as handwriting letters and calling on clients in person can make people feel valued. Remembering important milestones for their businesses or staff can have the same effect. A business lunch, small gift or discount can be an inexpensive way of gaining good will and marketing your business. It is important never to take customer’s loyalty for granted. The more hard work you put into your existing clients, the less likely they are to switch loyalties when your competitors call.
Knowing your competitors well is one of the first principles of business and staying ahead of the competition. It is more important than ever in today’s challenging economic climate to look after your existing customer’s well. Interacting online, for questions, problems and latest news items can keep customer’s informed about your business as well as keeping you up to date with their progress.
Finally, having an active profile within trade bodies and your local community will ensure you are regularly in the public eye. Volunteering and making charitable donations will show an ethical side to your business. Networking events that can include where appropriate your existing customers can benefit all concerned. Working hard with existing customers pays off in more ways than one and can generate increased business and income when carried out with consideration and thought. Current clients can be excellent ambassadors for your business and are worth cultivating with care.