This week I moved my business from one of my long-time vendors – hired someone new. The new vendor is not any less expensive, does not have a better product and is actually slightly less convenient to work with in terms of availability and response time.
So why did I move? Good question and an important one to know the answer to if you want to know how to succeed in today’s marketplace. I dropped my long-time vendor, moved the relationship because I didn’t feel that my long-time vendor valued my business anymore. I still liked him, even liked the product, and found him responsive when I reached out. However, I can’t remember the last time he showed a genuine interest in my business.
Now that may seem obvious, but I challenge you. When was the last time you called on your long-term customers just to check-in? When was the last time you reached out for something other than business?
If You Don’t Do it, Your Competitor Will.
You must remember that your best customers are your competitor’s best prospects. If you are not calling on your best customers, believe me, they are. In today’s economy, the worst thing that could happen to you – the very worst – is not that you don’t get the sale – it is that your best customers find out about a product or service they need from someone else other than you.
Remember, customers can buy the products and services they want anywhere, and anytime, that is not why they work with you, and not why they are loyal to you. They are with you because of the relationship. Moreover, relationships are about more than selling products and services; they are about more than reacting to customers’ requests, they are about investing more in your customers than to ask them to invest in you.
5 Strategies to Increase Retention, Expand Relationships and Drive Referrals
- Just Say Thank You – wow sounds so simple; well, believe me, it is just that easy. Every once in a while, you should reach out and just say thank you to your best customers. Let them know you value their business, recognize the trust they have put in you, and that you look forward to expanding the relationship. Not every interaction with a customer needs to be about business; sometimes, it is just important to let them know you realize you are lucky to have them on your team.
- Share the Good News – realize that your best customers want to be in the know, feel like they are part of the team. So, when great things happen in your business share the good news. You hit your sales goals – send them a thank you note announcing the win and letting them know you could never do it without amazing customers like them. You are expanding your business – invite them to the grand opening as a special guest.
- Inquire About Goals – Take the time at least once a year if not twice, to reach out and ask what is new in their business, what challenges they are facing, and what their goals are for the coming year. Just asking those questions will open a robust conversation that ensures your customers feel listened to and valued. Besides, you will uncover a list of opportunities in which you can use your products and services to move their business forward.
- Add Value – your goal with your best customers should be to help them grow their business, whether that means inviting them to a conference, sharing a great article, or sending them a piece of business. Whatever it is, a few times a year, your best customers should feel you are doing more to grow their company than they are doing to improve yours.
- Make It Easy – go on your customer’s journey and ask yourself, are you easy to conduct business? Can they get through to a live person, how quickly do you answer an email, is your contact information prominent on your website? What is your response rate, and have you upgraded your technology so customers can video, text, and live chat? https://www.accuwebhosting.com/blog/top-10-best-live-chat-software/
Invest in Your Existing Customers
So yes, investing in our existing customers is one of the smartest strategies we have to grow our business. Existing customers buy more from us, refer us business, and help build our reputation in the marketplace.
If my existing vendor had done any of these things, I promise I would still be their customer. So, put these strategies into place, and watch as you open more doors and close more sales.