"The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer."
--- Peter Drucker
All too often businesses are failing for lack of business. In other words, they can't or don't find customers. Without customers, there is no need to continue in business. While obvious, the task of finding and keeping customers is neglected for the sake of other business activities. Although those activities may be important and necessary, their importance soon dies as the loss of customers increases.
"In sales, a referral is the key to the door of resistance."
--- Bo Bennett
One of the best ways to get customers is to be nice to the ones that you have now. Mother Teresa once prayed to God, "You know God, you would have a lot more friends if you were nicer to the ones you now have." The same can be applied to your current customer base. Treating your current list of clients like royalty and reminding them that they are treated well helps in generating not only new business, but recurring business.
Your loyal customers are your most important. They are the ones who will tell others about you and the ones who won't leave you just because they receive a flyer in the mail or a cold call from a salesperson.
"Because I understood that building relationships is what selling is all about, I began early in my career to send thank you notes to people. I set a goal to send ten thank you notes every day. Guess what happened? By the end of my third year in sales, my business was 100% referrals."
--- Tom Hopkins, Nations Top Sales Trainer, and author of "How to Master the Art of Selling"
Joe Girard, Guinness Book of World Records' World's Greatest Salesman, and author of "How to Sell Anything to Anybody" sent over 16,000 handwritten greeting cards to past customers and clients every month. As a result of that effort, Joe became the number one car salesperson in the entire world for 12 years straight. Nearly every one of his sales came from referrals.
Use whatever customer relationship management tool you are comfortable with to keep track of client information. This should keep records of conversations, your customer's likes and dislikes, birthdays, etc. Set alarms to send out notices and thank you notes and keep good records of when this is done. Do it frequently and do it with sincerity.
"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else."
--- Sam Walton
Work on improving relationships with all of your customers. Don't just seek the ones who gave you the big contracts. Honor everyone who bought your products and services and even those who only inquired about your pricing. The investment you make will create long-term loyalty and referrals.
Seek to help your customers for free. Provide information that your competition is afraid to do. Yes, you will get used and abused, but it is rare. The majority will reward you with repeat business and with spreading the word about your business.
"You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
--- Zig Ziglar
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Electrician's truck in Durant, OK:
"Nothing we do will shock you!"
Sign at a beach:
"The shark prevention net was dismantled for maintenance on 1 November 2004. We apologize for any inconvenience caused"
On an auto shop in Maine:
"Our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship"
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