How many times does your customer buy from you? Maybe you are a realtor and most clients will only buy/sell with you once in 10 years, or you own a service business where you only see customers twice a year. You are thinking it’s not possible to increase the number of transactions they’ll complete with you. I want you to assume I am right when I say yes you can. Your perspective may need to change. A home buyer may become a real estate investor, or decide they want to be a realtor and take a class with you. If they have a great experience with you, they are going to refer others to you (an additional “transaction” as a result). They are eventually going to want to buy or sell again and you want them to choose YOU.
Let’s use an HVAC company as an example of a service provider. Are you cleaning ductwork when you go out twice a year? Have you mentioned it as a service? Did your technician complete a questionnaire with the homeowner to make sure all rooms are heating/cooling properly? Did you mention you clean dryer venting and how often that should be done to avoid a potential fire hazard? Give them reasons to want to do business with you more frequently.
It may be difficult to figure out based on previous year’s records what your average number of transactions were per customer. Do your best and then make a goal of a 10% increase. Here are some ideas on how to do it:
- Be consistent and reliable – I will refer the company that put in my new wood floors over and over and use them in the future because they showed up on time, every time and had the work done when they promised. However, my experience with carpet companies was 2 no-shows and 3 no-contact after the initial phonecall. This, unfortunately, is far too common with contractor services. Be the one who can be depended on and that alone will get you more sales.
- Provide exceptional service – make your customers feel special, give them magic moments to tell others about. You’ve heard the saying, “under promise and over deliver”? It works.
- Streamline your services – Make it easy to come back again and again. I don’t want to fill out the same form every time or start from scratch when I need to place an order.
- Keep in regular contact – this is where social media and email marketing can make a tremendous difference. Use these channels to remind people that you exist, educate them on what you do/sell, keep them informed of new offerings or sales, and make them feel good about doing business with you by sharing positive, uplifting, and personal news from your team. A monthly or weekly newsletter is a great option too.
- Continually update customers’ contact information; reach out to previous customers you haven’t seen in a while.
- Build a relationship – Know your customers’ names; tell them your full name; socialize; become a friend; send special occasion cards/gifts
- Inform customers of entire range of products and services – Educate, educate, educate! See the note above about staying in regular contact too.
- Hold special events – Customer appreciation event; Education/Information night; Closed door/Members only sales; Open House after hours; Tastings; Cooperative events with local civic/school groups
- Introduce upgrades regularly – Offering new services and the latest and greatest products makes a difference to clients; they like feeling on the cutting edge or knowing about something new first.
- Keep inventory stocked – don’t lose a sale because you don’t have something on hand that you normally do.
- Book the next visit now/ Plan future purchases with clients – Don’t forget to send out a reminder card/email as well.
- Time For Service reminders – if they didn’t book the next appointment, be sure to send a reminder when the next one is due. I don’t know why more salons don’t do this; I’d probably get my hair cut and colored more often if I had a reminder that it has been 6-8 weeks since my last visit.
- Keep following up – read the book Three Feet From Gold. Hand-write a note to customers you’ve “lost” and want back.
- Give promotional gifts or gifts for big $ sales – I worked with an auto repair shop that sent a card and a box of brownies to any customer that had a repair bill over $750. Those brownies got more returning customers and new referrals than any other marketing efforts.
- Labels and stickers on products sold/installed – A simple reminder of who they did business with can become a future service call.
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