It is much easier and less costly to keep an existing customer than to find a new one. New prospects must be convinced that you’re good at what you do, and that you’re interested in keeping them happy once they decide to do business with you. On the other hand, your existing customers may already know you and like you, and by using a few tried and true techniques, you may be able to turn them into loyal customers, or even clients. Here are some tips:
✓ Change from the transactional business model: Certain businesses move from one transaction to the next, knowing that customers aren’t likely to remain loyal over the long term. Instead of moving from transaction to transaction, focus on building a stable base of clients who will recommend you to their contacts and come back later for another purchase.
✓ Go through an extensive discovery phase: When engaging a lead or prospect, ask questions. What does the customer want or need, and how can you meet those needs? Learn by listening, by reading facial expressions and body language, before you attempt to “pitch” the prospect. Instead of thinking only about how to make a sale or get his name on the dotted line, consider how you can create a win-win situation that will benefit the client as well as yourself.
✓ Lay out all the facts: Transparency avoids misunderstandings, so be clear, open and totally honest with all of your prospects. If you’re in the business of providing services – an accountancy or legal practice, for instance – prepare a statement of work for each prospect you engage to avoid misunderstandings down the road. Don’t hide fees and other costs in the fine print. An open, transparent business builds trust quickly, and that may keep clients coming back time after time to make more and more purchases.
✓ Turn clients into stakeholders: Listen to new clients and ask for their opinions and advice. A new client won’t quibble with his or her own ideas – the ones you use as the basis for the sale or delivery of services. A client base is the product of collaboration between business and consumer to deliver the best practice for both parties.
Written by: Doris Aniakor