The True Value of a Customer
How to Gain and Keep Customers for Life
No matter what you are selling, there is no sale without a customer, so wouldn’t
it be great to have customers lining up for a chance to get what you have? Better
still, what if those customers became yours for life? You would get the benefit
of the “cumulative value” of every single one of them!
You may wonder about the cumulative value of a customer. In the simplest terms,
it is the total amount of business that the customer gives you over the life
of your relationship. The longer the relationship, the more the value. Pretty simple.
Obviously, it’s in your best interest to hold onto every customer for as long as
possible. Furthermore, cumulative value can include factors such as the referrals,
and the customer’s willingness to promote you without compensation.
So how can you be the beneficiary of this cumulative value? It’s simple: Always
give your customers a reason to return, and always make it easy. This starts with
the very first introduction. Imagine if every customer you ever met continued to
be your customer for life. It’s mind boggling how successful you would be.
You can’t be successful if after a sale you put your customer’s information into your
Rolodex and forget about it because that customer will definitely forget about
Here are some simple rules that will help you score their cumulative value each
time you meet a potential customer.
- Gather as much information as possible without being intrusive.
- Keep that information well organized, preferably using customer management software.
- Stay in touch with the customer so they do not forget about you.
- Let them know that you are always available and would like to help them if you can.
- Be the authority in your area of expertise and encourage customers to ask questions
or come to you to discuss problems.
- Develop your relationship, but don’t base it on sales. Base it on trust.
- Make your customer aware when anything special is happening regarding your products
and services, such as events or discounts. Give them the information without selling.
- Always be friendly, courteous, and timely with your contact opportunities.
- Make it easy and convenient to deal with you.
You’re probably thinking that everything above is common sense or was taken right
out of chapter one of the “Sales 101″ textbook. You’re right. Anyone who has spent
time in the sales arena should know these things. The problem is that knowing what
to do and actually doing it are two very different things. So if
we all know that these techniques work, why aren’t we all millionaires?
these techniques take time, effort, organization, creativity, and a host of other
things that TAKE YOU AWAY from your actual selling time.
Make the Commitment:
Despite the fact that a customer relationship looks easy on paper, it takes a commitment
on your part. Sometimes it is difficult to see a direct correlation between taking
the time to call a customer to wish them a happy birthday and your weekly sales
numbers. However, retaining a customer takes a small fraction of the cost of obtaining
a new customer. If you make the effort and pay attention, you will find that your
current customers are also your best leads.
Break out that Rolodex
Sort through those old business cards! Clean out that filing cabinet. Gather names
and other information from any source you can think of, and start considering everyone
a lead. Get organized and get down to business.
Take Advantage of Bad Habits of Others
With all the email spam, junk mail, unsolicited phone calls and other interruptions
in your customers’ lives, you can be different. You can still send email, an occasional
card or letter, and even call them. But in the mind of your customer, your correspondence
will be placed into a totally different category. Remember, strong customer relationships
are built on trust. Trust will lead to sales and referrals, but you can’t build
a strong foundation on the desire for the quick sale. You must think long-term!
Quick, no nonsense sales are great. You will get some, but not everyone buys that
way. One thing a good sales person must learn is patience. Your potential customers will come around if you’ve got the right product
to fill the need. Once you have a customer under your wing, treat them well so that
you get the benefit of a lifetime relationship with them. A happy customer who continues
to buy from you is much more profitable than a customer who is only in it for the
Make Sure They Remember You
You’ve heard the expression, “Out of sight, out of mind.” In a customer relationship,
that certainly applies; maybe more than you may think. If you’ve ever heard the
term “Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA),” you probably understand why it is so important
to make sure your customers remember you. In our next (and final) installment, we
will discuss TOMA and give you some clues into how it can work for you.
If you need help managing all those prospects and keeping in touch with them on
a regular basis, talk with us! Follow Your Customer is the most versatile and easy-to-use
customer contact and follow-up system on the market, and it’s virtually hands free.
Just put in the data and Follow Your Customer does the rest. Spend only a few minutes
each month to build strong relationships based on trust with past, current, and
Follow Your Customer Inc.
Previous lessons in this series include:
- 7 Techniques to Building a “Die Hard” Customer Base
- Why People Buy: Learn the Secret to Getting in Their Heads
- Timing is Everything, but Great Timing What You Really Need
- Referrals that Rule: 7 Steps to Getting Referrals from Everyone you Know
- 3 Chilling Reasons why the Cold Call Could Leave You Out in the Cold