Do you ever wish you had more business, but don’t know where to find it without spending thousands of dollars on advertising?
You need to look no further than your own office. If you have been keeping contact information on those who have worked with your business, you now have a database that is filled with valuable information about your current customers, previous customers and even potential customers.
This database is worth thousands of dollars in additional revenue from a group of people who are at least warm leads, if not “HOT” leads. They will know your name and it is always cheaper to sell to an existing lead than to sell to a new lead who has never even heard your name before.
If you have never worked your database, you will be very surprised on how valuable your database really is. It alone, can be the piece you have been missing to continue growing your business. The three key things you should keep in mind when working your database are:
1. Look For An Up Sell
This is your best opportunity to make additional money from your database. This process works best with current customers, but it can also work very well with previous customers or even potential customers.
You start by identifying the products or services that you offer. You then must identify which products or services you offer that are not being used by each person in your database. Once you have figured this out, you need to approach those in your database about these additional products or services.
For many of those in your database you can up sale them during a meeting or a lunch. If you don’t have the time, or resources, for this type of approach, you can reach out to these individuals through a letter or email and then follow up with a phone call.
Face to Face Contact is Best
As a CPA, I make it a point to meet with my tax clients each year between September and December. I do this for two reasons. First, it shows them I care about them and am thinking about their business even when it isn’t tax time.
The second reason is that meeting them at this time of year gives me an opportunity to offer my clients additional services when their mind is not fully focused on getting their tax return done. I have found by doing this, I can get additional services out of almost 90% of my clients. Most of this new business is for services they really need, but wouldn’t think about calling me about if I didn’t schedule the meeting.
2. Offer Discounts
When you are approaching previous customers, or potential customers, who have previously looked into doing business with you but never followed through with it, it is always a good idea to offer them some type of discount. This shows these individuals that you care about having them as a customer and that you are willing to make a sacrifice to get them back.
The more direct the discount is, the more opportunity you will have of getting them to do business with you again. Let’s assume you are a retail clothing store. You have contact information in your database for a previous customer who has only bought shoes from you. If this is the case, you are going to have a much better chance of getting her business back by sending her a coupon for shoes, than if you were to send one for pants.
Make the coupon time sensitive, if people feel a sense of urgency they are more likely to use the coupon. Once they see a $20 discount on offer, if they don’t use it they feel they have lost that money.
3. Say you’re Sorry
Over the years you will lose customers for a number of reasons; price, service, quality, or sometimes something as simple as another salesman contacting them at the right time. If you find that a customer has left you because they were dissatisfied with your customer service or something that happened which was within your control, don’t be afraid to say you are sorry. Many times this is all it takes to mend a relationship and to get the business back.
You also need to be willing to listen and understand what the true issue was that caused them to stop doing business with you. This will allow you to have a better chance of keeping them happy if they do come back as a customer. If you believe the issue which caused the customer to stop doing business with you still exists in your business, don’t lie and make a promise you can’t keep. You will lose the customer again and not only never get them back, but they will spread the word to most of their friends.
Take time now to look through your database to find opportunities to expand your business. If you are not keeping a database, there is no better time to start than today, it can something as simple as a excel spreadsheet with everyone name and phone number (although more detail is usually better). I know many businesses that have doubled their revenue by effectively working this one key resource.