“Farming vs. Hunting”
The best way to make a customer buy again, after the first 1,000 case sale, is to understand that farming -- not hunting -- is the world we live in now. Farming is focused on nurturing your customer through a caring relationship. Hunting is trying closing your deal too soon and this approach erodes customer loyalty.
Instead of focusing on the next sale, focus on deepening the customer relationship first by organizing conversations on the social networks they use -- whether it's Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
For example, start following your customers on Twitter and use the platform to engage in conversations that are independent of what you're trying to sell them. Observe what they like, then ask them meaningful questions about what they like.
Using the wine business as an example, let’s say that you're a Pinot Noir drinker. By communicating with you on Twitter or Facebook, we’re able to learn that in addition to wine, you're also a football fanatic, regular cupcake eater, and new gardener. The next time you tweet or post about making cupcakes, we can suggest pairing your cupcakes with a new dessert Riesling in stock, that's similar in taste to another Riesling you mentioned last month.
There are many lessons learned by sales executives all over the world: here are just a few of them on how to turn a one-time buyer into a repeat buyer.
1. Appointment Setting
Appointment setting is vital in any business because it is a guarantee of more 'face time' and affords the opportunity to up-sell or provide follow-up and repeated services. Appointment setting accomplishes many things such as establishing a relationship with your client, but it also is a tried and true marketing skill because most people live busy lives and having a committed date means your chances of following up with those clients are pretty good. Be on time and don’t miss the date.
2. Send Letters
No customer ever wants to feel like a number which is why another savvy marketing technique utilized is sending letters to current customers. These letters can be simply drafted and are a way of saying to your customer, “We appreciate your business."
3. Send Postcards
Postcards will always get noticed for technical and logical reasons, at very low cost. They are colorful and therefore are attractive to the eye and they are made of sturdier material which people automatically respond to. Even in the Internet, past paced era, people want something tangible and it is harder to forget a postcard that they may put on their refrigerator than an email that may be quickly deleted.
4. Offer a Customer Loyalty Program
Loyalty programs are invaluable when it comes to maintaining customers. Consumers shop according to their own individual habits and they have money to spend; however, ignoring the fact that those customers also want to feel appreciated as well as obtain some extras for being a loyal and valued customer can be detrimental to your business and relationship.
Loyalty programs can include things like discounted prices on a follow-up service or partnering with another likeminded company and offering piggyback services and discounts. Many companies such as grocery stores for example also offer point systems. With each purchase a customer earns X amount of points and then can redeem those points at a later date for other services, freebies or discounts. Dave Skogen, Founder of Festival Foods in DePere, WI, calls this their “Boomerang Theory: Bring Their Customers Back Time After Time”
5. Send Emails Using an Email Bounce-back Marketing Program
Email marketing is one of the most successful and yet often misused forms of advertising. If done correctly, it is a pivotal way to keep customers informed, tracking your customers and promoting current and upcoming services or products. It is always best to refer to an email marketing program rather than going at it alone. These programs will ensure that addresses are typed correctly, your business's call of action is defined and clearly explains things like opt-in options so customers are more likely to get on board. Business will “bounce-back” to you.
6. Remember Special Dates
Always have some sort of system whether it is an email marketing program or an Excel spreadsheet that you can keep important dates pertaining to your clients organized in. Again, this lets your customer know they aren't just a number and they will appreciate the time you take to acknowledge things like anniversaries and birthdates. It is a vital way to establish and maintain relationships and can lead to generated sales and referrals. Word of mouth is still a powerful marketing tool.
7. Offer Specials to Keep Customers Coming Back
Everyone is looking for a great deal and studies have continuously shown that people are more likely to become repeat customers if they are rewarded for past spending. Businesses have used this principal for years and it works. Offers like 'buy one, get one free' will quickly catch someone's attention or offering a discount on an affiliate product can generate more sales, and costs your business very little.
8. Hold Customer Appreciation Events
Consumers are used to bad service but they don't like it. Concurrently, they thrive on being appreciated and valued because it plays to their ego. Even if they only spent a small amount of money, they want to know that you know that money was earned through hard work on their parts and they want to know that is recognized. Hosting a customer appreciation event is a great way to do this and is also a chance to have face to face time, get referrals and promote future products and services.
9. Phone Calls
Never assume your current clients are too busy to talk. With the Internet too many businesses have resorted to emailing and even the most tech savvy person still has an innate desire for human contact and associations. Customers, even when busy, will always appreciate that you took the time to reach out to them in a personalized way.
10. Focus On Turning a One Time Buyer into a Repeat Buyer
Repeat buyers are essential for businesses because it is guaranteed income for the most part. Consumers are creatures of habit and will continue to buy products or services that they are happy with. They will also pay a bit more in most cases if they are getting amazing customer service and have become loyal to you.
Certainly spend some time soliciting new clients, but don't overlook the ones that already invested in what you're offering. Great service and relationships almost always lead to new buyers anyway because people will talk and relay your information to their family members, friends and social networks.
Gallup Poll Research suggests you should attempt to pursue sales with existing customers, rather than pioneering new ones:
• Existing clients spend 33% more than new clients
• Active clients are 6 times less expensive to keep than new clients are to capture
• 68% of customers won't come back if they don't feel appreciated
Your first truckload sale is great, but brands are not built on one-time sales. They are built on repeat sales to both existing and new customers. Be sure to spend time following up and providing exemplary service to your with your best customers to ensure they are happy with what you have given them in the first place. Good selling!