Keep Customers Loyal

May 3rd, 2010 by | Print

 

This is the last post of the series (10 of 10) discussing the essential steps for launching a successful, sustainable solopreneur business. If you missed the disclaimer post, it is helpful if you take a minute to read it before going forward. Here’s the link to the post.


So far I’ve covered the following sequential steps:


1. Define Your UVP and Prime Prospects

2. Perform Your Market Research

3. Create Your Business Plan

4. Square Away Your Finances

5. License, Permits, Certifications and Legal Structures

6. Develop Your Products

7. Set Up Shop

8. Launch Your Marketing Campaigns

9. Turn Prospects into Customers


Now that you’ve started selling to customers, not only will you need to get new customers, but you’ll want to keep your new customers loyal for future business opportunities. If you’re unsure why a repeat customer is a benefit for your business, let me give you some of the positives they represent:

A. The process to attract a prospect and convert them to a customer is often more time consuming and costlier than getting repeat business from a current customer.

B. The longer a customer is purchasing your products and services the less likely they are to switch to a competitor.

C. The more times you service a customer, the easier and less costly they become. You will learn their nuances and be able to provide the products and services they want, when they want them, and how they want them.

D. Long-term, multiple purchase customers have a greater trust in your offers making them more likely to purchase higher margin offers and supplemental items. Additionally, they are more forgiving. If you do make a mistake, they are more likely to give you another chance.

E. Long-term customers make great advocates for bringing in new business. They are your best source for testimonials and increase your company exposure through word of mouth.


So how do you create a loyal customer?


1. Make good on your first sale.
You will have difficulty getting a second sale if you don’t deliver as promised on the first. Did you hit your delivery date? Did your product or service do what you promoted? Was the customer satisfied? Did you ask? Did you follow up right away?

If you give them a great experience the first time, you have an excellent opportunity to service their future needs. And always remember to thank them for their business.


2. Stay in contact.
Depending upon the length of time in between needs, make sure your customers don’t forget about you. You don’t want to simply push offers on them. If you do, your relationship will solely revolve around the deal of the day. Stay in touch through providing educational updates of value focused on their needs and wants.


3. Provide exclusive offers.
A customer has given you their money and trust. Thank them by giving them exclusive offers. These offers can include an early release of a product or a service, a discount, a special training seminar – anything that gives them an advantage over others in the market for taking that leap of faith by giving you their business.


4. Give them something more than the best price.
Typically, lowest price is the weakest competitive edge. Most customers seek best value for the dollar. When you converted them from a prospect to a customer, they may have mentioned that price was their biggest concern. Chances are they wanted to minimize their risk by giving you a chance. If you failed, they wouldn’t have experienced as big of a loss. However, as you prove yourself trustworthy and get to know your customers better, you will often find they rank value as a higher priority than low pricing.


5. They’re not just a paycheck, they’re people.
People do business with people. Get to know your customers, their names, their likes, their dislikes, their hobbies, their personalities … and without being overbearing, give them the opportunity to get to know you.


6. Get them involved in your growth.

All customers start as target prospects.

A percentage of target prospects become customers.

A smaller percentage of target customers become advocates supporting and promoting your business.

And a smaller percentage of advocates become partners.

 

An excellent process to keep a prospect through the process to becoming a partner is to get them involved in your growth. If you plan to create a new product or service, get their input. Let them get involved in reviewing and testing pre-release versions.


7. Stay consistent.
Regardless of your type of business, inconsistency of service and quality is often the best way to give business over to your competition. You set expectations with the first sale and through future promises. When customers return, they have a preset expectation of their experience. Unrealized expectations result in disappointment. Some customers will be forward enough to let you know if they are dissatisfied. Most new customers, however, will simply take their business elsewhere.


Thank you for reading through this series. I hope you’ve found it helpful. If after reading any of these posts you have trouble applying these concepts to your business, please write to me at thesologuide@gmail.com. I would love to help.


All the Best,


Doug Dolan
The Solopreneur’s Guide

Share

2 Responses to “Keep Customers Loyal”

  1. Paul Says:

    Great series, good stuff as always.

  2. Douglas Dolan Says:

    Thanks, Paul.

Leave a Reply

Security Code: