Your existing customers are worth more than potential customers

Finding new clients is a time-consuming and expensive proposition. Online marketing, conventional advertising and strategic planning can drain your resources. It takes you away from doing what you do best – creating a superior product or service. Large companies can afford to hire marketing teams, but most small businesses need to concentrate on other priorities.

The best way to get around this is to focus on your existing customers, gain their loyalty and ensure they buy more from you.

Customer experience

Studies show that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated and 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. Focusing on your customer and making him feel valued will go a long way. It goes without saying that you need stellar customer service and quick resolutions to any problem that arises. But beyond that, consider offering your client something valuable with each purchase which costs you nothing. A personal thank you note or phone call or a product you have a surplus of are of no value to you but will be appreciated by the client. Give loyal customers special status so when they call they get extra attention and they will not want to buy from anyone else.

Turn new customers into returning customers

Once a customer has bought from you once, put your efforts into getting him to buy more items. If you sell something that people tend to buy frequently, this shouldn’t be too hard. Offer discounts and bonuses for returning customers to get them in the habit of buying from you. Put them on your mailing list (whether postal or online) and send them catalogues, promotions and general information. Open a free customer loyalty program and offer a gift after a certain number of purchases. Give a discount to clients who Like your Facebook page and leave a comment about why they liked your service.

Sell him more

During a sale, don’t be satisfied with selling what the customer says he wants. Offer him a more expensive product or service, with an explanation of why it is superior to what he is currently considering. Or offer a related product, which goes well with the one he is already buying. For in-store or phone sales this can be done by turning every conversation into a sales pitch. On the web, your e-commerce site should offer related items on each page. Right before checkout, show the customer some relatively inexpensive items that go well with what he has purchased, like a case for a cell phone or a book about the destination he has just bought tickets for.

Find new customers

Once you have a system set in place for maximizing your existing customers, work on increasing your customer base. If your business is based on selling products which people generally purchase only once, like houses, cars and wedding rings, you can’t turn first-time customers into return customers, but you can treat them well so they help you gain the best kind of marketing – word of mouth. For markets which do have return customers, word of mouth is still one of the strongest forms of bringing in new business. Customers who come to you because of a friend’s recommendation are already predisposed to make a purchase, and it will be easier to upsell them.