Updated: Jul 17, 2018
That season is fast approaching, which many businesses expect and hope will be their greatest sales period of the year. There will be lots of attention paid to customers, endless deals, contests and giveaways all geared at enticing customers to get in the spirit of giving and buying a lot. But what happens after the season?
There is no shortcut to mattering. - Bernadette Jiwa
Oftentimes we can get into the habit of only paying attention to the customer long enough to get the sale and then we tune out until we feel another sale is imminent. What if we paid attention to the customer all year round? Every day may not be a day that a sale is made or a deal closed, but it’s still a day to get closer to our customers. This is how the long term increase in sales comes.
Joe Girard, the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s greatest salesman”. He sold ordinary cars and trucks to people like you and me. He holds the record because he sold over 13,000 vehicles between 1963 and 1978, all at retail - one at a time. On his best day he sold 18 vehicles, and in his best month he sold 174. It’s said that he sold more vehicles by himself than 95% of all the car dealerships in the USA. How did he do it? He took the time to nurture relationships with his customers all year round.
He constantly kept in touch with ALL of his customers (not just the ones who bought that month or that he felt would buy next month) by sending a personalized greeting card (with no sales pitch in it) every month (not just at Christmas or for their birthday). He did this consistently year after year. Joe Girard also kept files on each of his customers that included pertinent information which would help his communication with them to be relevant and personal.
His thinking was that if he consistently built strong relationships with his customers over time, it would make selling and getting referrals a lot easier in the long run. He knew that they and their friends and family would eventually need a car and when they did, he wanted to be top of mind. Was it easy to send out all those hand written cards every single month and pay attention to the things that mattered to his customers all those years? Probably not, but it was worth it. After 10 years in the business most of his customers were repeats and it got to the point where customers had to set appointments in advance to buy a car through him, because they just would never dream of buying a car from anyone else.
There is value in nurturing relationships with our customers, but there is no shortcut.
Here are a few ways that you can start getting closer to your customers:
1. Show appreciation for their business and loyalty in a way that only you can (i.e. that can’t be easily replicated by competitors).
2. Connect with your customers both online and offline. Encourage dialogue, respond promptly to their inquiries and really listen to what they have to say. Make sure your communication is two way and not one way.
3. Always deliver on what you promise and when you don’t, go the extra mile to make up for it.
4. Find out what matters to your customers - their needs, wants, aspirations and pain points, and look for ways that your business can solve those problems and help them reach their goals.
5. Treat every customer with respect and as though they are your most important customer. Even the customer that spends a little. You don’t know who they know or how many referrals they can bring your way.
6. Above all be genuine. People can tell when you’re pretending to care so that you can get the sale.
Fostering meaningful relationships with customers takes time, but the benefits are long term. How do you get closer to your customers? Let me know in the comments below.
If you’re looking for ideas on how to implement this way of thinking into your marketing strategy, drop us a line here.