Now that January has come to an end, you know by now whether you are on your way to achieving your New Year’s resolutions, or whether they are already a thing of the past. Life happens. You’re busy. We’ve all been there. But if you want to achieve your goals, you have to keep them active in your mind and on your calendar.
If “making more money” is one of your goals for this year, determine what “more money” means to you. Then identify how to obtain it, whether it is by earning a promotion, notoriety, or repeat customers. This post will discuss ways to acquire and retain customers to increase sales. Other posts in this series discuss (1) earning recognition in your industry; and (2) obtaining a raise or promotion.
Acquiring and Retaining Customers
Whether you are the owner of a business, or the member of a sales team, acquiring new customers and retaining current ones is essential to the success of every company. This means that you will need to divide your time between securing new business, and maintaining relevance with the business you already have.
According to John Leslie, Management Consultant/Coach at the Automotive Training Institute, “the average business loses about 5-10% of its customer base per year. It is much easier to retain clients than to acquire new ones, and is essential to ‘touch’ customers 12-16 times per year thorough various methods of communication, including phone calls, social media, newsletters, in-person networking/meetings, direct mail, and follow up.”
1. Set a Communication Schedule
While it may sound daunting at first, arrange a schedule for the contact. For example, you may want to send out quarterly direct mailings, a monthly newsletter, and weekly (if not daily) social media posts. Work with your marketing team to make a schedule and create a marketing calendar that shows which method of communication you will use, the content, and the dates on which it will occur. Then space out your posts at different times throughout the day and week to determine which time slot produces the most viewers and drives the most traffic to your site.
To minimize the impact content creation or re-posting can have on your schedule, set aside time each week to draft the content or select articles to repost. Then have an assistant post them throughout the week to keep your social media feed active. Too busy to do it yourself? Think you are too small to have an assistant? Consider outsourcing. There are domestic sites, such as Task Rabbit, where you can solicit bids from members on everything from deliveries to furniture installation to website design, and international virtual assistant outsourcing companies such as 123 Employee.
2. Keep Social Media Both Informative and Interesting
As to social media, while informative content is useful and can build credibility, your customers and “followers” may get tired of too much text. To keep it interesting, vary the posts with photos, videos, newsworthy events (both current events and newsworthy to the company), contests, incentives, and prizes.
Recognize the achievements that your employees and industry colleagues have achieved. As an experiment, post a funny video or the latest meme to see how many more “likes” you receive than for the latest content about news in your industry. Balance between useful and entertaining to draw viewers to your site.
Posting videos on your social media sites not only improves your SEO greatly, but gives potential customers the opportunity to get to know you and trust you before you even pick up the phone. With videos, you can be marketing while you sleep!
3. Track Your Leads
Once you have identified potential customers, track the leads in a chart or sales program. According to Leslie, “over time, you will see which marketing techniques provide you with the greatest Return on Investment (ROI).”
For example, if you have attended a networking group for over a year and you never received a single lead, cross that group off your list and focus your time where you see results. If you spent thousands of dollars on direct mailings but your phones still aren’t ringing, it may be time to pivot your strategy.
4. Maintain Excellent Customer Service
Finally, never underestimate the value of customer service. If your receptionist, customer service, or sales teams are rude, condescending, or offensive to customers, it will undo all of the hard work and expense that you put into building a customer base. Conversely, excellent customer service will inspire your customers to write positive online reviews, and/or refer their friends, family and colleagues to your business. A positive review is priceless because your customer does the sales work for you.
The Next Step
Do you have the commitment and desire to improve your business, but get overwhelmed by where to start and how to keep it moving forward? Setting up an infrastructure will help you achieve your goals because consistency will lead to a higher likelihood of guaranteeing success.
For example, working with a business coach or attorney can take some of the guess work out of growing your business, and can provide a sounding board as you experience growing pains and problems with your clients/customers. Setting a weekly, biweekly, or monthly appointment with an advisor can hold you accountable to achieving your goals step by step on a weekly basis. Schedule an appointment with an attorney in the first quarter of the year to help you learn what annual changes have been made to the laws, and to review your contracts with clients, partners, vendors, and independent contractors so that you can ensure your interests are protected.
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About the Author
As an attorney and business consultant, Jennifer Grady, Esq. uses her litigation background and business acumen to ensure her entrepreneur and small business clientele are achieving their goals. To schedule a 15-minute complimentary consultation with Ms. Grady, fill out a Consultation Request Form, or call (323) 450-9010.
Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.