6 Must Do’s to Get and Keep Loyal Customers for Life!

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loyal customer

6 Must Do’s to Get and Keep Loyal Customers for Life!

In this day of abundant choices, instant access, and competition galore how do you get and create loyal customers?

1. Stop advertising and start innovating.

Too often the business owners spend countless hours and dollars on advertising and marketing with very little if any return. Very seldom does it result in a new client, and rarely does it result in creating loyal customers. In order to begin to dominate the market with your product or service, you must first become the innovator.

In the 1930’s a new brand of bread arrived. It was called Wonder. Wonder became the innovators in bread. Yes, innovators in bread. There are thousands of varieties of bread. How did they innovate something as simple as bread? They were the first to sell sliced bread. In today’s world it seems so simple but in the 1930’s it was innovative and changed how bread would be sold forever. How does your product or service compare to that of your competitors? What could you do to become the innovator in your market?

2. Create the Purple Cow.

If you haven’t already read Seth Godin’s book Purple Cow. Get a copy and read it today. Seth refers to creating a purple cow for your company. Americans see thousands of cows every day, black cows, brown cows, spotted cows, and don’t think anything of it. However, if we saw a purple cow we would immediately stop and take notice. We would take pictures, spread it to our friends and family, share it on social media, and probably even call a few reporters to get some pictures for the local paper. What about your product or service has a purple cow effect? What makes your customers want to talk about it, share it, or sneeze it all over everyone they know?

A local restaurant offered wine with every meal. They didn’t charge by the glass or by the bottle. They merely had a note with a bottle of wine at each table that said “Please enjoy the wine with your meal. Just let your server know how many glasses of wine you’ve enjoyed and he or she will add $3.50 per glass to your ticket accordingly.”

The reality is their customers may have never ordered wine with their meal. However, since it was right on the table it was easy to enjoy.

They also found that most customers, once opening the bottle wanted to take the entire bottle home and paid for it. In addition, an average bottle of wine cost the owner $7.00. With a $3.50 per glass charge, if the customer said they’d each only had one glass of wine the entire bottle of wine was paid for by the consumer. If they said they had 2 glasses of wine each the owner made a great profit. And their customers told everyone about it! One of the first questions customers asked when walking in the door was “is it true that we can tell you how much wine we have and you’ll only charge us for what we say”?

With a $3.50 per glass charge, if the customer said they’d each only had one glass of wine the entire bottle of wine was paid for by the consumer. If they said they had 2 glasses of wine each the owner made a great profit. And their customers told everyone about it! One of the first questions customers asked when walking in the door was “is it true that we can tell you how much wine we have and you’ll only charge us for what we say”?

What’s your purple cow? What will you customers want to share? What will turn every lead into a loyal customer?

3. Define your target market.

Americans are bombarded with over 30,000 advertisements and logos a day. Yes, a day! Think about it. Just driving down the interstate you often see thousands in a matter of an hour. Mercedes, Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan, Audi, McDonald’s, Wendys, Burger King, Shell, 7-11, Gas-Mart, Wal-Mart, Sony, Bose, XM Radio, Sirius Radio, Samsung, Apple, Mac, ….the list goes on and on. Turn on the radio, television, or laptop and it’s a blizzard of advertisements. Small business owners can’t compete by simply advertising. However, you can compete if you market directly to your target market. But you must first define who they are.

What is there gender? Women are most often the decision makers in child day care. Where do they live? Is your product or service available in a certain demographic? How old are they? The geriatric physician should market to a different target audience than a pediatric dentist. What form of media do they use? Does your target audience read the newspaper, use the phonebook, research information on google or bing, do they use social media to make buying decisions?

It all goes back to knowing who your potential customers are and then deciding how you will reach them.

Once you reach them, and they buy from you, give them a reason to come back, again, and again. Give them a reason to become loyal customers. If you’re unsure of how to design a marketing plan to reach your target audience we’ve got that too! Get 90 Marketing Strategies for Small Business Owners with Little or No Budget.

4. Give your loyal customers a reason to come back.

Do you give your existing customers a reason to buy from you again? Something as simple as a loyalty program can be a game changer for your business. The average consumer will buy from you again if you’ve made them feel important. 68% of customers leave a business because they feel unimportant. How do you make your customers feel important? Do you send thank you cards? Other Special Occasion cards? Do you give them special treatment such as customer only private events? How often do you even ask them to buy from you again?

Chances are if you provide a good product or service, your customer feels they matter to you and they trust you, they will buy again.

Give them just one more reason to buy from you again and you’re sure to get their next purchase. They already know your product or service and like it. They’re already there buying. Give them a special “thank you” or “next visit” offer. They (and you) will be glad you did! Remember if you want loyal customers you must give them a way to show their loyalty!

How do you make your customers feel important? Do you send thank you cards? Other Special Occasion cards? Do you give them special treatment such as customer only private events? How often do you even ask them to buy from you again? Chances are if you provide a good product or service, your customer feels they matter to you and they trust you, they will buy again. Give them just one more reason to buy from you again and you’re sure to get their next purchase. They already know your product or service and like it. They’re already there buying. Give them a special “thank you” or “next visit” offer. They (and you) will be glad you did! Remember if you want loyal customers you must give them a way to show their loyalty!

5. Give them the Pickle… or the Coat.

In Bob Farrell’s book Give ‘Em the Pickle he discusses a letter a restaurant owner received from one of his lifelong customers who decided that he would no longer be a patron of his establishment. The reason? The customer asked for a pickle on the side. The server, who was new to the position, stated that he would have to charge him .25 for the pickle. After several minutes of unsuccessfully trying to explain to the argumentative server that he had never, in 25 years, been charged for a pickle he decided to leave. He also decided at that minute that he would write the owner and make him aware of his decision to not visit his restaurant again.He explained that it wasn’t the cost of the pickle.

It was the principal.

After 25 years of patronage, he was going to be charged for something that he had always perceived as an added value to his experience at the restaurant.Once the added value was taken away, in such a manner, he no longer felt a desire to visit the restaurant for lunch. As business owners, you must know when to give your customer the pickle. You must train your staff to add value to any experience your customers have. This may be an old concept. However, it still stands true today. Provide value and show your customers that they are valued and you will create loyal customers!

6. Empower your team.

Finally, if you truly want loyal customers you must empower your team to add value to any experience your customers have. A customer of Zappos received a phone call from a customer who wanted to return a winter coat. It was too large. The Zappos customer service representative asked that she not return the coat in exchange for a smaller size. He asked that she donate it to a local shelter because there were so many people in need, especially in the winter. He also explained that he would ship her a new coat in her size at no additional charge.
That’s an empowered team creating loyal customers for life!

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Be a Business Owner and Stop Letting Your Business Run You! 6 Keys to Owning a Successful Company!

Do you want to be a successful business owner? Are you tired of the business running you? Owning a business can be challenging. It can also be extremely rewarding. So why are some businesses so successful while others seem to struggle along until they finally close their doors?

Here are the top 5 things successful business owners do, and you can too!

1. Get a mentor.

A great athlete and successful business owner have many things in common. One of which is they both hire a professional to mentor them. Think about it. Tiger Woods has 5 coaches. Professional football teams have an offensive coach, a defensive coach, a special teams coach, a head coach, and a series of professional trainers. While you may not need to go to this extreme. It is imperative that you seek the guidance of other experts. If you’re considering hiring a Business Coach do your research. Here are 5 Things You Must Consider When Hiring a Business Coach.

2. Build your professional team.

While you are certainly the expert at your craft, I bet you’re not the expert at finance, insurance, business planning and projecting accounting, or human resources. Nor should you be. Ask for the referral of a successful business owner or business owners in your community. Ask for their business partners such as Business Bankers, CPA’s, Insurance Advisors, Business Coaches, and Human Resource Specialists. Meet with your team on a regular basis. I recommend meeting monthly in the beginning and then quarterly after you’re established.

Then meet annually at a bare minimum. Remember, it’s your business, your livelihood, and your life. You need to drive the bus and have the right people on the bus to help you reach your destination.

3. Systematize it.

Too often the business owners …. business…is dependent on the people it employees. Don’t be left hanging if a key employee leaves you. Build a system and workflow process for everything from how to open the business, close the business and everything in between. If you lose a key employee another employee can easily step in until you’ve hired a new employee. Systematizing everything also increases productivity, efficiency, and consistency. Want things done the right way every time? Building the systems is the key.

4. Train and retrain.

Business is an ever evolving machine. Technology, demand, competitors and market demographics (just to name a few) all play a part in the success of your business and your success as a business owner. As a business owner, it’s imperative that you stay ahead of the curve. Educate yourself, educate your team and then re-educate often. Build a training program for each area of your business. Make sure that it’s documented in either, or better yet all, written, audio, and video format. This allows for anyone who joins your team to get up and running very quickly, reducing the learning curve and ensuring consistency in every aspect of your business.

5. Know your numbers.

Your business can live or die by the numbers. It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is if it’s not profitable. As a business owner, you should understand your fixed expenses, your variable expenses, and your profit margins per product and service. Budget each year. Always include room for “if this then that’s”. If equipment breaks down. If we get a blizzard. Trust me. Planning ahead for such incidents will allow you to budget for those events and be prepared in the event they happen.

If you have a product or service that is loss making you have two options. Stop offering it or make it profitable. Too often the business owner likes to make offers to get people in the door. Let me be very clear about this. If you offer it once. They will expect it every time.
Meet with your CPA on a very regular basis to review your numbers and plan for the future. They are the experts. Partner with them for the financial success of your business.

6. Acquire the right talent, assign the right roles and develop their talents. 

Too often the business owner will focus on the skill set required for a role in their organization. Skillset can be taught. However, natural strengths and abilities cannot. Gallup latest State of the American Workplace shows that 51% of the American workforce is actively looking for other opportunities. If you think employees are looking for opportunities for higher pay think again. They are leaving, actively looking for an opportunity to be able to do what they do best and do it in a way that fits their life. Discovering the natural talent, then developing the talent of your team is vital to the success of your organization.

So, are you ready to start running your business and become a true business owner? Contact Crystel at CrystelSmith1012@gmail.com to schedule a complimentary consultation!

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Team vs Employee

Team vs. Employee

Think about a team you’re familiar with. Is it sports-related? If so, you’re on the right track! Sports give us great examples of teamwork is and how successful organizations can be if they put that same strategy into practice.

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