There are essentially only 3 ways to grow a business:
- Get more customers
- Increase the value of each transaction
- Sell more often to your customers
Now, if you look at each of these ways separately, you can find tactics to apply in your own business. (You probably notice already that 2 out of 3 ways refer to engaging your current customer base more).
For example, one of the best way to get new customers is through your existing customers. Statistically, you have a 50% higher change to make a sale with a prospect referred by a current customer, than with a prospect that hears about you for the first time.
The reason is that the referred prospect is already pre-sold on your offer. The customer who referred him did the heavy work in your place.
Now, your current customers, if they’re happy with your product or service, already want to refer you to other people. It’s built into the human nature to try to help others, so it would make us look good (that’s a whole different topic…).
All you have to do is make it easy for them to do so. Give them a tool.
For example, you can devise a coupon/voucher for them to give to their friends. The voucher would entitle the friend to $5 their first purchase. When the friend redeems the coupon, the customer who referred them, also get $10 off (or a different discount) their next purchase
Now, for the second way of growing a business (increase value of each transaction), you can offer up-sells. Bundle up certain services/options so that a customer would pay a little less this way than if they purchased the services separately. (Remember the famous McDonald’s up-sell “Would you like fries with that?”).
And 3rd, to sell more often to your customers, you have to bring them back more often. One of the most effective ways to do that is through Direct Marketing (Mail) campaigns.
If you have a database of your current customers, send them exclusive special offers. (If you don’t have a database, start putting one together right away). Or, when the customer makes a purchase, you can give them a limited time coupon for their next purchase.
Large businesses, such as Amazon and Walmart, are good at scale. They can also sell you cheaper stuff than a small size business.
But they suck at one crucial thing: Human Connection.
Just because they’re so big, just because they’re so efficient, just because they employ so many people, they have lost the ability to connect with other people at a basic level.
And that’s precisely where you can beat them.
When I place an order on Amazon, it gets shipped to my door the same day. I get an automated email asking me about how satisfied I am with my purchase. The price is, a lot a times, lower that the one in the corner store.
But I place my order with a faceless computer interface. I don’t get to chit-chat over the counter with John, who’s wife just had their third baby. And guess what, it’s also a girl! I don’t get to share the joy, or the burden, of that event.
Also, the computer doesn’t ask me how I’m doing today. And if it does, it doesn’t care. It’s just an automated protocol.
You, the small business owner, can beat the big companies at a game they’re not good at. Connect with your customers at a personal and human level, and you’ll have something your big competitors cannot touch.
Common business wisdom tell us to focus on bringing in new customers all the time.
Advertise, advertise, advertise!…they say.
Always chase the next customer, and the next sale.
While that works to an extent, I have found another strategy to work at least as well, if not better.
This is: Focusing on your current clients.
That’s right, concentrate your efforts to serve, and delight, the people who chose you already.
If someone on your current client list wants something right away, do it. I’ve gone so far as to cancel an appointment with a new customer, just because one of my clients needed my help that day. (I lost the new customer, but didn’t care one bit.)
People buy from people they know, like, and trust.
Statistically, it could be up to 10 times cheaper to sell to existing customers than to new ones.
Because your current customers/clients already KNOW you, LIKE you, and TRUSTyou. And that’s the essence of any relationship.
And if you treat them well, and make them feel appreciated, they’ll tell their friends. And they’ll keep coming back for more.
Thanks for reading.