I am approached every day, by individuals and businesses trying to attract a steady stream of new prospects to their product/business/service. They ask me all kinds of questions, like:
“Do you think networking is a good idea for me?”
“Is print advertising worth doing?”
“Do you think I should spend money on this [fill in the blank] opportunity?”
As pressing as those questions can feel, and as desperate as you may be to generate more leads into your business, this can sometimes be a case of putting the proverbial cart before the horse…
Which comes first… the chicken or the egg?
Generating new leads and converting new clients is critical to the success of any business. I get that. Really, I do. And there are many, many, many ways available to business owners to invest and spend their resources to market their business.
Now, by and large most businesses spend the bulk of their time in this space – constantly focused on finding NEW. But what happens with all of these prospects once they become clients? What are you doing to keep them, and more importantly keep them happy, once the ‘new client smell’ wears off?
Statistically it is 4x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. It isn’t terribly complicated, and it doesn’t have to be hard. So the real question becomes, why do you always need to find new?
Sorry… He’s “newer” than you…
I don’t know about you, but I personally am severely underwhelmed when I get adverts in my mailbox from the national telecom company I have been a client (read: hostage) of for the past 10-years who consistently offers me a great deal to ‘sign up’… but only if I am a new customer. Suffice it to say they are not concerned about keeping me happy, and quite frankly I am pretty much ready to be mistreated by their competition. How many of your customers are thinking the same thing about you?
So if we all know that KEEPING clients is the real key to long-term success in business, how do we do it? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Build relationships – Whether you are selling a car, an insurance policy, or a service plan, you need to see your customers as more than just a number. Get to know your customers, let them get to know a bit about you, and you will create a foundation for a relationship that is more likely to deliver a referral, or a repeat purchase, somewhere down the line.
- Be exceptional – If you have customers who when asked say that they are ‘satisfied’ with their interaction with you then you have a LOT of work to do. Satisfied should not be an acceptable standard, because a customer who has merely been satisfied by you is primed to be scooped up and dazzled by the next guy. Make sure that your customer service is so good that your customers won’t even consider going anywhere else.
- Deliver on the promise – Snazzy marketing materials, fancy visuals, or clever packaging won’t save you if the product/service/offer doesn’t deliver. Never, and I do mean NEVER, misrepresent who you are, what you are, and what you promise because you will get caught… I guarantee it. In this highly social age, if you get caught in a lie and/or really blow it upon delivery, you can be sure that your disappointed customer is going to share that information with as many people as they can.
In the end, no amount of marketing can save you if you have a lousy product or offer crummy service. But with just a bit of care and consideration, it is possible to radically improve your client retention and customer loyalty. And when you keep more clients buying from you, without you have to spend a ton to get them through the door, you should see a significant (positive) impact on your bottom line.