When business owners desire to expand sales, they should look no further than their customers. Expanding customer profitability can be done through two avenues: growing new customers and increasing sales among existing customers. While many business owners immediately head in the direction of new customers, the profitability of retaining and growing existing customers can be much greater.
Your team has worked hard to earn the trust and business of each of your customers. There are several ways that you can leverage the relationship with your current client base to motivate sales and positively impact your bottom line.
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The relationship between your company and your customers requires work and communication just as any other relationship in your life. The first step to growing a budding relationship with your customers is data. If you do not already have a CRM or customer relationship management system in place, act now. Whether it is a complex software that integrates within your whole operations or a simple spreadsheet, identify the best method for recording key data about your customers.
Capture, at the minimum, basic information about your customers including communication avenues.
The key to nurturing a successful relationship with your customers is to provide relevant, timely, information that is 80% content / 20% self-promotion. The key to effectively executing a customer communication plan is to have systems in place to streamline such communications. Establishing a streamlined communication system should operate on autopilot and reap dividends for your company for a low investment. With an improved communication with your customers, you can encourage frequency of purchases, increase the sale of complementary products or add-ons, and encourage referrals leading to new customers.
The quick-serve restaurant industry knows the value of promoting add-ons. Whether it is asking customers, “would you like fries with that” or to value-size, or make it a combo, many fast-food restaurants add dollars to their bottom line with a simple question at each transaction. Evaluate your point of sale operations. Are there sufficient logical add-ons? Are your teams on the front line and in direct contact with your customers trained, and incentivized to ask for the add-ons?
When we ask many business owners where their stream of leads comes from, word of mouth is often a top response. However, when asked what they are doing to maximize word-of-mouth leads, we often get blank stares. Unsatisfied customers are more likely to proactively share their unfortunate experiences than satisfied customers. Many of your satisfied customers would be happy to provide a recommendation if merely asked. Consider offering an incentive for providing recommendations. Make the process of giving a positive recommendation turn-key for your customers – just like an add-on request. In this age of digital reviews, recommendations can easily swell or reduce a business. Be certain that you have a point-person or team overseeing digital reviews and responding to negative responses in a timely manner.