Growing your business is important. Establishing a brand identity, promoting yourself and growing your customer base is imperative for growth. But, do you know what is even more critical to growing your business? Making sure your loyal customers remain satisfied and are treated with the best services and experiences possible. You simply must nurture your current network to experience growth.
Think about the last book you read or new restaurant you took your family or clients to. Did you make those purchase decisions based on an advertisement in a newspaper or did you make those decisions based on the recommendation of a person that you know and trust? Chances are you based your decisions from a friend’s recommendation because word-of-mouth messaging is so strong.
Studies show that the probability of selling to an existing customer ranges between 60 to 70%, where the chance of selling to a new customer is only 5 to 20%. Furthermore, it costs more than six times more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current, happy customers. So, keep your current customers pleased, and they will likely start singing your praises to others in their circles, who might also become your customers.
Steven Shapiro, an innovation consultant and speaker writes, “I’ve found that sometimes simply calling or writing a past client to say hello is enough. In doing so, when a new need arises, they think of me first. I often introduce clients to one another so that they learn about innovation from a peer, not just me. Sometimes I’ll send a small, personal gift. Or if I find a relevant article, I mail it. The key is not to sell to these customers, but to provide value. You want them to view you as an ally, not a vendor. And this repeated, friendly contact keeps you front and center in their minds. Should they (or a colleague) require someone with your skills, they will think of you first.”
Providing value is just one way of nurturing your network. When you provide value, your customers will remember that. Providing them a quality product that helps them reach their production goals is another way to provide value, as is delivering products, staying open later one or more nights a week and reminding customers when it is time to order certain products for specific production cycles.
A happy customer is the best marketing tool you can have to grow your business. Perhaps you could offer a customer loyalty program, where a loyal customer receives a gift or percentage off for referring a set amount of business or so many new customers. A satisfied customer will sing your praises to their friends and neighbors. However, they will likely share their discontent even louder, so make sure to keep your customers happy. Nurture your network and watch your business grow.