In terms of great business advice, the best I ever received was when a very wise business person told me to never plan my business strategy around obtaining new customers, but instead focus on getting repeat orders. That might sound like a slight change in thought, however in terms of outcome for your business, it can provide you with dramatically different results.
Here is how to do exactly that.
Offer your customers random freebies.
In many industries, business owners commonly give their customers things like free pens, calendars and notepads. However, this is usually done around seasonal holidays like Christmas or as a gift that is part of a transaction. These gestures are things that customers really do like. However, sometimes it isn’t enough to really build strong customer loyalty.
When having face to face meetings or online interactions, one thing you might try doing is having freebies or samples available in exchange for customer interaction. In social media for instance, you might hold a contest or give customers a freebie in exchange for a like, share, etc. If customers ask you any questions or tips, might also be a great time to offer a freebie. These types of random acts frequently build a much better level of trust compared to concerted marketing giveaways. Customers start to really trust in you and will most likely give you a call when they have a need for your services or products in the future.
Refer business to existing customers
All business owners know how important word of mouth referrals are. They will put a lot of effort into asking customers for references. Sometimes it can get annoying for customers when it is all a one-way street. Keep a database of all of your customers (commercial and domestic) which includes details about how they earn a living. So when you are interacting with a customer and making small talk, you can use that as an opportunity to get them connected with existing customers. This helps to build trust with customers and they benefit professionally from it as well.
Provide Free Complimentary Consultations
A great way to establish rapport and earn trust from customers is to offer them free consultations on topics that relate to your service or product. Encourage customers to ask you any questions they might have on things like how does something work, or offer do it yourself techniques and tutorials. Many competitors don’t like disclosing the techniques since it can impact their business directly. However, experience shows that if you are generous with free consultations, it will not only help to ensure that you get repeat customers but it will also dramatically build trust and improve how many word of mouth referrals you get as well.
Follow up on a periodic basis.
A big mistake that many business owners make is only following up with past customers when they have a favor to ask – either asking for referrals or trying to get repeat orders. When your conversation is all about your business instead of them, that’s a recipe for disaster.
One easy way of handling this is to follow up selectively with some of your customers to check up on how your service or product is working for them. For example, if you are selling a product that comes with a six month warranty, give the customer a call or email before the end of the warranty period to see how the product is working for them. As the seller you will be communicating what your responsibility is and be establishing a trust factor that can turn your buyers into repeat customers.
If you want to build a successful business then you need to build trust. Keep in mind that you are the business owner and you need to always remember to show your customers that you are committed to them and always demonstrate your willingness to help them. This will help to build trust and result in repeat orders from loyal customers.