There are only three ways to get more sales:
1) Repeat business from from current customers
2) Get a customer to introduce a friend
3) Acquire a totally new customer
Funnily enough it is also in this order of ease to get more sales. The third being by far the hardest. Think about it, just how much effort is it to find new leads and spend the time and budget to get their attention, build a relationship and get a sale. When you could just easily sell to people who already know and trust you.
So how can we all target those top two areas to get more repeat business and turn your customers into your biggest sales force?
The key is remarkable experiences at every touchpoint.
When your customers LOVE what you do they will recommend you to everyone. It is like having your own sales force – for free! If you read up on Zappos the shoe company, it’s how they grew their company to be worth $1.2 billion.
Their philosophy was to take their whole marketing budget and spend it on customer service instead. You might think this is backwards, how would they get awareness? But who would you rather buy from, from a company who’s advert you saw, or from a company who your friend is raving about and can’t stop recommending? We know where we would go, and that’s because word of mouth is so incredibly powerful.
Let’s do the math, on average everyone has around 50 strong connections. Now if you have 50 customers who tell their 50 friends about how great you are, that’s a reach of 2,500 people being introduced to your company in such a positive way that you can’t really go wrong – if they need your service/product then you will get the business more than likely. This is the best possible way to get business; it’s relatively free, it’s non intrusive, it’s not hard for you, and it is ongoing.
Here’s some top tips on how to build your sales force of raving customers:
- Excellent customer service: This means being polite, helpful, useful and going the extra mile for ALL of your clients ALL of the time.
- Hug your haters: If anything goes wrong or you get a bad review, do everything in your power to put it right. Give your staff the power to do this also (with guides) to speed up bureaucracy. Act fast too, studies show that dealt with correctly, you can turn bad experiences into loyal brand advocates.
- Do something worth talking about: If you just do what everyone else does, then it’s not worth talking about! Figure out how you can stand out so people want to spread the word about you, find out here.
- Top of mind awareness: You need to keep in their heads at all times so that if the opportunity arises, they are quick to think of you FIRST rather than your competitors. So maintain a system to keep in touch, whether it is by meet and greet, newsletters, or post. It needs to be consistent, at least monthly, and friendly (i.e. not always ‘selling’).
- Position yourself as ‘that guy!’: What we mean by this is that you have to make it easy for people to pass on your name. For example, people call us the ‘Ant and Dec’ of the business world or the ‘Gruesome Twosome’ haha. What are you known for, how do people describe you? Are you the guy/girl who always wears a hat, or always carries around chocolate money, or who has a business card with flashing lights on.
- Go over the top: Why not do something so outstanding that your customers just HAVE to talk about you. Here’s an idea, hire out a cinema screen once a month for your clients for free.
- Be supportive: Help your clients whenever you can, from simple thank you’s to Retweeting their Tweets. Why not set up a Twitter List to keep track of all your clients?
If you want to impress a handful of clients:
- Send them something thoughtful: Going on holiday? Send your clients a postcard. Just finished a big project? Send them a thank you card. Know one of your clients loves white orchids? Send them one. This will blow their mind.
- Send them referrals: If the opportunity arises, why not pass work, leads, contacts that may be useful their way. They will feel indebted to you and want to repay the favour.
You might be thinking wow this is great and you might now see the benefit in all this, but it’s a lot of work!
Well it doesn’t have to be, in fact it is really easy, all you need to do is keep track of all your customers and streamline processes.
ACTION: Maintaining a good database is crucial to keep yourself on track. Make it your mission to keep your client database on track.
ACTION: Plan some time to brainstorm what you could be doing to maximise your existing customer database from the points above.