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If you're a business owner, you know that repeat business is critical to your success. It also makes your life much easier because you can count on ongoing business without having to continuously find new prospects and convince them to hire you.
Here are seven ways to keep your customers coming back:
1. Take time to build a relationship
Learn to "visit" instead of being so professional that you appear rude. Pay attention when you meet with your customers. Learn about them and their lives. Notice what they hang on their walls and place on their desks. And don't just notice, comment on them. For instance, if your prospect or customer has a huge marlin hanging on his wall, you could say, "I'll bet there's an interesting story that goes with that fish." Your client will be thrilled to tell you about it, and he'll be flattered that you asked. And it would be like ignoring the elephant in the room if you DIDN'T comment on it. Learning about your customer will pay off every day of your relationship.
2. Set realistic deadlines and either meet or beat them.
Nothing impresses a client more than when you follow through with what you say you will do. Do it fast. Do your best. And do it right. Clients always want it "yesterday," but if you know it can't be done that quickly, or it won't be done correctly because there's not enough time, then speak up right at the beginning. It's better to set a realistic deadline and then beat it by a day or two, than accept an unrealistic one and make the client wait.
3. Make it easy to work with you.
Extend your service hours to cover when your customers want to talk to you. If your business is tech support or Internet marketing, remember that peak Net usage is 10 pm. If you're a night person, you can impress your customers by being available during their "off" hours.
4. Offer credit card payment options to make it easy for your clients (and the government!) to pay you.
Today, businesses need payment options. If you're able to allow them to pay with credit cards, you'll have more clients. And if you're interested in government business, this is an easy way to get some of it since most government agencies are now using credit cards for purchases valued at less than $2,500.
5. Be flexible--offer to meet for breakfast.
Just like you, your clients are very busy. They have meetings all day and often during lunch, so it's hard to find a time to get together. Offer to meet for breakfast when you and your client are both fresh, or meet after normal work hours to accommodate their schedule.
6. Provide added-value service at no charge.
Give them something they aren't expecting. If you go the extra mile, your customers will notice. You'll soon be the one they turn to when they need a problem solved. It works when your vendors do it for you, doesn't it? It sure does for me! For example, I recently began doing informational teleseminars with industry experts, and I not only needed a bridge line to do them, but I also needed someone to record the seminars for me so I'd have a good finished product to sell through my website. I got one-stop-shopping with Dan Janal at Great Teleseminars, which was perfect. And, when he confirmed the information, he sent me a free copy of two of his ebooks to teach me how to do a good teleseminar! Now that's added value.
7. Refer business to your customers.
If you send business to your customers, it shows how much value them. Connect one customer with another, if possible. It's the ultimate thank you.
Lois Carter Fay, APR, is a 30-year veteran in the P.R. and marketing field. She now produces three marketing ezines, Brainy Tidbits, Brainy Flash, and Success Secrets of Women Entrepreneurs. All are free. She's also the co-author with Jim Wilson of "Sales Success! Strategies for Women," a quick-to-read ebook containing 52 easy-to-implement sales tips. The ezines and ebook are available through her websites.
Visit http://www.MarketingIdeaShop.com or http://www.WomenMarketing.com to learn more sales ideas and subscribe. Claim your free special report when you subscribe.
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