It used to be that that sales strategies focused heavily on consistently and aggressively seeking out new customers. Although building new customers can never be ignored, nurturing and keeping the customers you already have can generate bigger returns. Customer retention and holding a customer over a lifetime gets more sales.
5 important tips for your customer lifetime retention strategy:
1. Build a Relationship
The sales process is about building a relationship, which means it is based on trust, not on closing a deal. Sales take more time, but repeat sales come faster when a relationship is built with the customer.
There are three main techniques which go a long way to build a relationship with a customer:
Honesty - Many customers respond to a company that offers transparency. Even if the customer makes a smaller purchase or buys with a competitor, be honest about the product. Be honest about what the future holds for the customer with your company, and be honest about the competition. Even if one sale goes to a competitor, the customer will remember the honesty and be more likely to come back in the future.
Sharing - Share tips and skills beyond the sale for free. For example, demonstrate the product or service for sale, teach the customer how to use it, and offer free advice and resources in the future.
Partnership - Offer a partnership with the customer, such as, "I can offer this and you can benefit me by offering this." Customers love a give-and-take relationship, because they feel they are getting as well as giving. If the customer has a business, find out how the businesses can be beneficial to each other.
2. Brand Loyalty
Yes, brand loyalty exists, and it must be created. The three parts of brand loyalty are high quality products, high quality services, and excellent customer service. Find a way to make all three of these happen to make customers loyal to your brand. Referrals, reviews and recommendations of your products to your customer's circle of friends and business associates are crucial in the modern marketplace. According to research data, 85% of small businesses get their customers through word of mouth.
3. Cross-sell and Upsell
When products are bundled, the lifespan of the customer is increased. Consider fast food combinations for a moment. Many people do not walk out with burgers; rather, they walk out with a combination of food, simply because the bundle makes the offer a better price value. Offering a bundled product can also help your business sell above your wholesale price, increasing profits. Customers will return when it's convenient for them to purchase everything they need in one simple bundle rather than having to make many separate purchases.
4. Incentives and Rewards
Don't rely on constant discounts, it won't work. Instead, offer special services that come with the product or free gifts. Building up points toward a reward are also attractive; consider grocery stores who offer points toward gas stations as an example. Use incentives to maintain customers over a lifetime, but be careful. Evaluate what works efficiently within financial growth goals. You don't need to hurt your bottom line offering incentives.
5. Increase Customer Service through Touch Points
Using different means of customer communication and being responsive to customer service inquiries increases the chance of a customer coming back. This means being connected and approachable via phone, email, Internet and social media. Customers need to feel like they are an important and valued part of your business; giving them the ability to choose when and how to contact you boosts that feeling. Don't forget to ask your customers for feedback too. They are the ones that can provide significant feedback to benefit how you can evolve your business offerings for continued growth.