Don’t be a stranger to your customers

The smart and successful business realises that marketing to and cultivating relationships with existing customers is essential to your business success.

It is a big mistake to be overly focused on getting new customers while neglecting your existing customers. In our acquisition focused world, we make considerable efforts to win over new prospects, yet we tend to ignore the very people who essentially fund our acquisition efforts in the first place.

Don’t be a stranger to your client base. Why?

  1. It’s becoming more and more expensive to acquire new customers. It used to be that when acquiring a new customer, you could immediately make a profit or at least break even. Today, attracting a new customer is more difficult and costs seven times as much as keeping an existing one.
  2. There are a finite number of new customers available. If you only focus on acquisition, eventually you will run out of new customers. Plus, your business is in trouble if you are losing existing clients faster than you acquire new ones.
  3. Fact! Most clients leave businesses because of neglect. Customers migrate when they feel unappreciated, unimportant, or taken for granted. Research shows that seventy percent switch because of what they perceive and describe as indifference from the business or from an individual inside the business.

It stands to reason that if you strategically plan your business to retain, nurture and grow the value of your existing customers, you will grow your business and ultimately profits.

How do you achieve this?

  • Don’t wait for your existing customers to return to you, go to them.
  • Make your customer feel important, appreciated and respected.
  • How often you make contact with a customer depends largely on your product or service. If you sell cars you would probably send a letter once or twice a year. If you sell a product or service that requires more frequent purchase, make your customer contacts more frequent.
  • View client retention as a marketing function and a profit center. Don’t view money spent on existing clients as an expense, view it as an investment.
  • Whenever a customer makes a purchase, make a follow-up phone call to them. Let them know how you appreciate their business.
  • Have a lost client plan in place. Track your customer’s buying activity. When a client stops buying, send that customer a letter with a great offer or pick up the phone to find out why the customer is no longer purchasing from you. And don’t give up in your efforts to win them back.
  • Offer preferential treatment to existing customers. Ensure that your existing customer base receives the best prices, deals and guarantees you can afford to give.

Your existing customers are your most important asset; they are your business goldmine. If you want to grow your business and profits, neglecting them is one marketing mistake that you never want to make.

Business growth strategy #1 – Stay in touch with your customers.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

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