Are you a business owner ? Or self-employed ?
Think about what it is that you do for a living.
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last few years, you will know that whatever product you sell, or service you provide, your potential customer can find the same product or service online, within just two mouse clicks of Google (or Facebook!), and for a lower price than you can offer.
So why would anyone ever do business with you? – The answer is simple.
Because they like you.
Because they know you.
Because they trust you.
Because they have a relationship with you.
In our fast-paced and automated world many business people and service providers are now desensitized and have fallen for the e-myth that an e-mail or a text message is a sufficient way to say thank you…. (if any appreciation is shown at all!)
If you have a business of any kind, you know how important it is in keeping a customer returning to use your business. Basically, if you don’t have customers you don’t have a business. It is said that it is much easier to keep a customer than to gain a new one. Why is that? Usually, when someone has decided to do business with you, you have created some amount of trust with them. You’ve developed a rapport with them. That’s good! But so many times, when we “close the sale” we get so excited that we forget about the customer! We are so caught up in making the sale that we forget that the sale is only the beginning. The beginning of what? The Beginning of a Long Relationship! That is where Relationship Marketing comes in. That is when “make or break” happens.
Relationship Marketing is the glue that holds your business together. It is the personal touch that sets you and your business apart from the competition. It is what causes your customers to loyally keep coming back to you and on top of that, send you great referrals! In this fast paced world we live in, when was the last time you received a real thank you note in the mailbox when you made a purchase? I’d say that showing true appreciation has become a lost art.
If relationship marketing has not been part of your business plan, it’s time to make a change. (It’s never too late!)
Where do you begin? Here are my Top 4 Tips to help you get started….
- Send a thank you note in the mail after a sale or a meeting.
- Send a thank you gift when someone sends you a referral.
- Send “items of value” on a regular, planned basis. These should be un-related to your product or business. It could range from useful, simple tips of about almost anything, to coupons, or informative articles. It could even be a recommendation to another great business or service.
- Send personalised birthday cards to your customers and contacts. That will really make their day and set you apart! (Want to know how to REALLY set yourself apart in this area? Keep it simple. Just send a happy birthday with no offers/specials.)
Relationship marketing happens usually in 2 ways:
- Spontaneously – by being open, listening, and in tune to people.
- Automatically – by having a regular system in place that happens whether you are at work or in traffic.
Where the rubber meets the road….
Now that you know the importance of having a relationship with your customers spontaneously and regularly, it’s important to have in place actual systems that will help you do this !
- Sending automatic emails is a good way to keep in touch and show appreciation to your customers. Set up a system that sends out messages automatically. You can do this through a system like MailChimp. You can write a whole years worth of messages in one day if you want to and set the system up to send them out on the exact days (and time) you choose. But it’s so easy to delete a message by a quick click of the mouse. (It’s also becoming harder in this day of “the busy inbox” to stand out and have your subscribers OPEN your emails.) Emails are best used to support the main system/s you use. And that is the next point…
- Find a system that let’s you set up a contact manager, remind you when birthdays and other important dates are coming up, has a huge selection of cards and gifts, let’s you create your thank you cards and other cards of appreciation, let’s you type it and select the customers to send it to….. I use an Relationship Marketing system that prints, stuffs, and mails my cards and gifts very inexpensively.
The key is to just start doing it! The fact of the matter is, we business owners do appreciate our customers! So why not show it! Besides, our business depends on it, because our goal is to build long lasting and loyal customers and a continual flow of highly qualified referrals. Relationship marketing could be the very idea that either makes or breaks your business.