Look for the Customers You Have
Pandemic hits. Business slows to a crawl. Must redirect. As I stated before, some owners have pivoted so many times in the last 10 months I suspect their hips hurt. I do not deny that the shut down and phased reopenings have challenged the best of us, however, some of you were not paying attention even before the pandemic. I’ll wager those were the owners who never got to know their customers, who never created a database on their customers, who never created a culture in their businesses to do whatever it takes to get customers to come back and would rather put money into marketing to get new customers than to engage those who’ve already shopped with you.
The number of times I cover this topic it never gets old. The one thing you have that gives your business the most and greatest value is a list of current and past clients. This is your database. It can be loaded into a fancy Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) or a spreadsheet or even just a legal pad. Just so long as you can refer to it and create a dedicated process for reengaging these folks on a quarterly basis. You must be able to keep notes on how you’ve engaged them in the past and what you will do to engage them going forward.
And bear this in mind. If you do not get involved with your current and past customers in a persistent and consistent way someone else will.
Maybe all you’ve got is a file drawer of past jobs. BINGO, you’ve got a database. Start with the last 7 years and 200-500 current and past customers. Rate them A, B, C and D. You will only focus on the A’s and B’s. The C’s and D’s are the ones who give you and your team a hard time or don’t pay and you just fired them. The A’s and B’s like what you do, pay you on time, will cut you a break if you screw up and own up to it and appreciate you and your team for your efforts to do well in your industry. The one thing that separates the A’s is that they advocate for your business. They are your marketing tools. They will tell others how wonderful you are.
Now take you’re A’s and B’s, maybe as few as your top 50-200 folks, and write them a note. A hand written hand addressed and stamped notecard. Folks, this is a completely lost art and the reaction is gold, maybe even platinum. You could say the exact same thing in an email that never hits their inbox or deleted without them ever seeing it. But say it in a handwritten note and it will get delivered 99.9% of the time and read 100% of the time. The postman will even deliver it on top of the stack. Just write 3-4 per day. That’s 20 per week, 80 per month. First thing every morning, set up with cards, names, addresses and stamps the day before as you prepare to leave your office. This is the part that ensures success and keeps you consistent.
A blank note card with your logo on the outside with an envelope and stamp will cost you about $1.25. You can use it as a Thank You for past business, a congratulations for a birth or an anniversary or birthday, as a condolence, a request for a referral or anything that creates a fun exchange based on something personal that you know about them, like “I see where Johnny kicked the field goal that won the game. You must be proud.” It’s endless. Two to 4 sentences are all you need. You can let them know about an upcoming promotion and how much you wish you had more customers just like them. You do not need to ask for business every time you write a note. Once out of four is enough, all the others should be more personal and relaxed.
They will sit in stark amazement that you took the time and made the effort. Your competition isn’t doing this. You can separate your business from the pack of competitors moaning over the current situation. This is so easy.
Take action today to reengage your customers and then Go run a Lap! Business is Fun.
Tony Marder is a Gastonia resident and President of ASM Ventures Corporation. His clients are family businesses who develop and implement new strategies to make more profit. Reach him at www.enjoyingyourbusiness.com