As the 80 – 20 rule goes, you get 80% of your business from only 20% of your customers/clients. So doesn’t it make sense to keep them happy?
It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to look after your customers/clients and keep them coming back, just follow one or more of the following and you are on your way.
- Call them back. That’s right, you’d be surprised how many people don’t call their customers back. Everyone likes attention and more so when they are requesting it.
- Send cards. This could be a birthday card, Christmas cards or just simply thank you for being my client cards.
- Client specials. It is cheaper to give your regular clients 10-15% off than to find new clients (and it also makes them feel appreciated).
- Referral gifts. If a client refers someone, thank him or her. Send flowers, wine or whatever you think best suites, for if they have referred you once, they will do it again.
- Treat them like new clients. Remember the excitement you get with a new client or customer? It is that passion that people are attracted to so keep it up even for the clients you have had for many years.
These are very simple points and very inexpensive ways to keep your customers/clients happy and coming back time and time again.
People often say you should never mix business with pleasure – well, for small business I believe
there is an exception.
Your clients are most probably small business owners themselves and where do you meet most
of them? At functions, family events, friend’s bbq’s etc. Then once they become a client, if you
do a good job, they refer your product or services. Sounds alright to me.
It is at social events and life in general that you need to be the brand of your business and
Here are some tips on how to mix business with pleasure.
- At parties etc, ask people what THEY do for business, no doubt they will then also ask
what you do.
- Relate something in the conversation to your business e.g. if you are talking about makeup
and you are a beautician, mention how some of “your clients” have the same
problem with xyz…a smooth door opener to what you do.
- Never be a salesman – this is a sure-fire way to annoy the hell out of everyone you speak
with and you will blow your chance of a sale and a possible referrer of your business.
- Have a great first impression. Don’t leave the house in a sloppy tracksuit, you never know
when you will be talking about your business and people WILL be looking at how you
dress which will reflect the “quality” of your work.
- Leave with a lasting impression and a business card. You can offer them a deal and
follow up with a call the next couple of days.
- Send an email to all your friends and family, and mention something on your facebook
page, they may not know what you really do – you’d be surprised.
- Last but definitely not least, carry business cards wherever you go. A great tip is to keep a
stash in your car/ute also just in case you do forget.
Try some of these things next function or gathering you attend.
Whether you are a tradesman, florist, accountant or lawyer, if you choose to advertise your services and products here are some things to keep in mind.
- Don’t try and sell everything at once: if you have 5 or 100 products of services, don’t list them all
in your ad. Pick 1 or 2 and focus just on that.
- Run more than 1 ad over a few weeks or months. Not only will you get your ads at a discount
you will come across as an established business and not a one hit wonder.
- Don’t forget contact details! Your phone number, email and website address.
- Support your ad. This may include having a copy of the ad on your website, or you may choose
to do a letterbox drop or a direct mail out on the same topic as the ads you run in the
paper/magazine. Here is where you can add more details.
- To test whether the ad worked you will need to track its success. This is done by asking all new
clients where did they hear about you and make a note in a spreadsheet or a piece of paper.
- Have a call to action in your ad. This is a simple as asking people to call for a free quote,
offering 15% off any orders in the next month or something else specific to your business.
Follow these basic steps when advertising your business and you will have a better chance of
Not knowing who your competitors are can be dangerous for any sole trader or small business.
You need to know them well, what they offer and what is different about them that may be drawing potential customers/clients from you to them.
How to find out who your competitors are
- Yellow pages, True Local and other online directories
- Local paper directories and ads
- Going for a walk around the area (or drive)
- Asking around, even asking your clients
- Google for words relating to your business to see who comes up at the top (Take note also of the advertised lists on the right, your competitors have paid for these spots)
What do they offer and how do you match up?
- Visit websites and make phone calls to find out what they offer and their prices
- Do they run regular specials?
- Do they target a particular market? Females, seniors etc
- More importantly, find out what they offer that you don’t
- Try them out
- Buy their product or service
- Get a free quote
- Visit their stores
- What is their customer service like?
- What is their turnaround time when contacted?
Once you have collected all this information, put it in a folder and then see how your business compares. What can YOU offer that is different? Do you need to focus on a particular area that is more popular?
Then make sure you keep an eye out every month, do a quick refresh of the above steps to keep on top of what your competitors are doing so you don’t fall behind.