Losing customers costs businesses, a substantial amount of Money per year. But many small businesses are so focused on bringing in new customers that they forget about the ones they already have.

It is paramount to bring in new customers but maintaining the existing ones also help in expanding your customer base. Below are some tips to follow on maintaining your existing customers:

  1. Sell to old customers, not just new ones.

When planning out your marketing strategies, from direct advertising to search engine optimization, it’s natural to think about how to attract new customers. But put some of that effort into your old customers too.

“Old and current customers know us well,” the Speros explain. “Current customers will often work with us on larger projects than new customers that are just testing us out for the first time.”

Creating a sales and marketing funnel specifically for existing customers is not only key to growing your business, it’s often a better investment of your time and resources. It generally costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer, according to Forrester Research. If you spend more of your marketing dollars on old and current customers, you will see more return on a smaller investment.

  1. Understand their expectations.

Customer retention depends on customer satisfaction. But many times that satisfaction depends less on the goods or services you provide than it does on expectations. If a customer wants a one-hour consultation to double their revenue overnight, for example, they will be disappointed no matter how good that consultation is.

One of the most common mistakes [small business owners make] is to avoid having the conversation with the client regarding the client’s expectations. These expectations can often be unrealistic, unmeasured, and don’t match what they actually are trying to communicate.

As a business owner, it is your responsibility to initiate that difficult conversation. Customers should have a realistic picture of what they are buying, including the cost of their purchase, what it includes, what they can expect as a result, and any return or refund policy you may have in place.

If all these components are understood and expected from the beginning of a purchase, customers are much more likely to be satisfied at the end, whatever that end is.

  1. Offer to improve.

If for any reason a customer isn’t satisfied with their purchase or experience, the best thing you can do to retain their loyalty is to take responsibility and offer to improve. No matter where the mistake or miscommunication occurred, customers expect you to make the situation right – and doing so enthusiastically can turn even a disastrous situation into a loyal customer.

In fact, offering to improve, and making your customers a part of that process, can increase loyalty even in satisfied customers.

In their business, the Speros schedule reviews for every account to see where they can make customers even happier. “[We] have an annual review in person with each client to listen, evaluate, re-examine and refine [their] advertising strategy based on changes in the client’s business.” This personal attention not only makes clients feel valued and respected, it can also help you anticipate and avoid future problems.

If you don’t interact one on one with clients, you can still offer improvements. An email survey, either sent to everyone at certain points in the year or to each customer after a purchase, gives customers the opportunity to offer feedback and you the opportunity to make changes.

Once you’ve made those changes, don’t keep them quiet – let customers know exactly what you’ve done and how that will improve their experience. When they know you take their feedback seriously, they are more likely to give you repeat business.

  1. Communicate and connect.

Regular, personal communication is key to creating the feeling of personal connection that convinces customers to stay loyal to a small business.

Communicate regularly with your customers through a newsletter or email list, keeping them informed of changes, developments and special offers. If you are a local business with local customers, get involved in the community to create strong, personal relationships with them.

If you are working at a distance, it’s still possible to create a feeling of personal connection. Even if there is not time to meet with a customer in person, a call is important. It doesn’t have to be every month, but conversations, rather than just emails, create an emotional engagement that tells the customer that you are interested in them.

If you are able to send them, personal thank-you notes and other handwritten notes make loyal customers feel that you are loyal to them in return. You can also create real connections by responding directly to emails and comments on social media, posting content that shows the people behind the business, or finding events such as trade shows where you can talk to customers in person.

By communicating directly with customers, you encourage their engagement, which in turn makes them feel invested in your business. Through communication, a relationship is created, which often leads to a more loyal, long-lasting partnership.



How to Increase Sales in a Highly Competitive Environment

We are in a competitive world where our ideas seem not to hit the limelight. Narrowing this piece to business concern, there are many other people who are in the same business and going after the same prospects like you – Many competitors pursuing same goal. The struggle is not only limited to working hard but playing smart to be at the top.

Many businesses have folded up due to low returns as a result of low sales. This is mostly caused by employing bad marketing strategies.

Here are some few tips to help you increase your sales:

KNOW YOUR MARKET TARGET:  Your products/services are not meant for everybody. The mistake some business people do is to take their products/services to where they are neither needed nor appreciated. Imagine you being a Barber and your business is located in an area mostly occupied by female folks. It is very certain that you will make little or no sales in your venture. Let your line of business correspond with the desires of your customers.

MAINTAIN A CORDIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS: Yes! Business is Business – As strict and as helpful this statement is; it has a way of affecting sales if not properly applied to business. Some business owners miss it here because they do not have a good relationship with their customers. This has nothing to do with your services/products but your manner of approach is what counts here. Create that friendly atmosphere for your existing and new customers and make them feel relaxed when they patronise your services/products.

DO MORE ADVERTISEMENT: Your advertisement is one of your sales motivator. Do not get tired of advertising your service/products to the public. The more people get to know about your service/products, the more your patronisers. When advertising your products/service, make it short, simple and most importantly captivating. Nobody wants to run at a loss. Hence, let your customers know what they stand to gain when they patronise your products – It is the reward for their money.

BE UNIQUE: What makes your products/services stand out is the uniqueness and creativity added to its value. This gives you more confident when you are advertising. Everyone would want to have a taste of this unique products because they cannot find it elsewhere. This is where you have an edge over your rivalries. Before they could join you; You are already an outstanding king.

If you have been in a business or you are aspiring to own one, Follow the tips above and apply them effectively. What are businesses if there are no sales and of what benefit is your investment if there are no returns? Be wise and Smart!