Stop Losing Customers To Your Competition

Do you question why a customer buys from you once and then never again?

Surprisingly many micro business owners don’t as they’ve moved on to the next customer and then wonder why it’s so hard to make a decent living.

Well building a business that provides you with a comfortable lifestyle never has and never will come from one time sales – not even if you sell large ticket item products.

Making just one time sales can actually cost you more than you realise because often profit comes from the lifetime value of your customer. In other words your business success relies on them making more than one purchase.

Consider this…

Sustainable Profit = ROI+FB

…which translates to your Return on Investment (marketing spend) + Future Business (repeat sales) will create longer term Profits for your business.

The one time sales you receive may only just cover what you spend on marketing your products or services. So you’ll always be locked in that never ending frustrating cycle and still have all the outgoings to meet – but there is another way.

Make more sales per customer

It makes perfect and logical sense so how can you start doing the same starting now?

The number #1 way to make more sales is to…

FOLLOW CUSTOMERS UP

It really is a simple process that’s totally in your control and costs a lot less than you think. Because they’ve already made a purchase, your customers know and trust (and hopefully like) what you sell.

I’m no longer amazed when I ask clients about their follow up process and receive either blank looks or something like…‘I do it when I have time’. My answer…you MUST make time or you’re forcing your customers to choose another option, namely your competitors!

I even had one client who had a database of 500 customers lying dormant on their PC – they just didn’t realise the potential gold mine they had for generating additional sales.

In my experience there are 3 main reasons why micro business owners fail to follow up their customers, can you relate to any of these?

#1 – Fear of rejection

Fear has an instant impact on the ability to take action and at a core level nobody wants to feel rejected. But why would the fear of rejection from a customer paralyse anyone from picking up the phone or sending an email? Understandably, micro business owners often have such a personal investment in their business that they take everything very personally, including rejection.

You may have tried following your customers up before but perhaps received an unexpected response, and gave up. Past experiences significantly influence future results. So the next time you think about following your customers up that previous situation echoes fresh in your mind and the fear begins. This manifests as a belief system that every time you follow up your customers, that situation will always occur. Belief systems create development barriers, limiting the brain to expand beyond the familiar. What you currently believe is not real anyway, it’s collectively past labels, judgements and experiences that create ‘learned helplessness’ which you can overcome.

 “Fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real”

If this is something you’ve felt before then turn your experience into a positive and create distance between what you personally felt and what actually happened. Conquer your fear…

1)    Review your previous follow up methods

2)    Find what is the most appropriate for your customers (friendly email, etc)

3)    Avoid interrupting them – follow the golden rules of permission marketing

4)    Remember the past doesn’t equal the future

5)    Get in the most resourceful state possible

6)    Embrace the word ‘no’ and move on – it’s not personal!

#2 – Procrastination

When thinking about following up your customers do you find there’s always something else to do, even filing? Then you could be procrastinating! It’s very common and if you look hard enough there’ll always be other things to distract you under the guise of work or progress. But when the filing’s done and the social networking exhausted, there’s still potential customers you could be making more sales from. Although these are dwindling as likely they’ve already found your competitors! If this is catching a nerve, I make no apology because if this helps you to make even one more sale from an existing customer then I’ll have served you greatly.

  • Set yourself at least 1 power hour in the day. Make a commitment to yourself in that 60 minutes, nothing and nobody is going to distract you.
  • Make a follow up plan including what method, how many you’ll complete in that time and how you’ll record the results
  • Be outcome focused – what do you want to have achieved in your power hour?
  • Afterwards, look back on what you’ve achieved; you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

#3 – Attitude

Loyalty to a brand or company is quickly disappearing – customers want the best product or service at the best price and that totally meets their needs. One of the traditional marketing methods that is fast disappearing is business owners expecting repeat business from those customers. I’m sorry to say it’s just not going to happen. Every business owner has to work hard to get customers to buy from them again and should never assume they will unless there is a significant benefit to doing so.

Often new customers will get certain concessions or privileges and then as soon as they’ve purchased, that seems to disappear. It reminds me of online grocery shopping, as a new customer you could receive £10 off your first shop – then what? Suddenly the offers disappear and to add insult to injury they increase delivery prices.

Adding value to your existing customers with offers, exclusive customer deals and making them feel special should be part of your follow up process. If you still adopt the opinion that following up customers isn’t necessary because they’ll return – then you could be in for a long and profit dwindling wait!

Always keep in front of your customers with regular personal communication to incentivise them to return. Add value to them with helpful hints, tips and product advice all the while building trust and creating long term customer loyalty. You could consider one or more of these to help keep in front of your customers:

  • Newsletter
  • Follow up phone call/email
  • Blog
  • Vlog  (short videos)
  • Product announcements, offers
  • Latest research, etc

Don’t make it easy for your competition by leaving your customers no other choice than to seek them out. Agreed you may get more saying no than yes, but yes means profit to your business and perseverance is golden!

This works for me, I hope it does for you too. My definition of perseverance. For every ‘No’ there’s an equal to or greater than ‘Yes’. Like the gold miner, you’re only 3 feet from gold! Press on and find what you seek.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Know; don’t guess the answers to these:

  1. What’s the real reason for not following customers up?
  2. Is it related to one of the points already covered?
  3. What commitment will you make to take action?
  4. What are the best follow up methods for your customers?
  5. What incentive will you offer them?

Now create a systematic follow up plan and use it. Become relentlessly motivated to achieve more sales for your business.

Annette Du Bois

Annette Du Bois is a Small Business Growth Expert, direct response marketer, speaker and author. Creating the impetus in this delicate economy for small business owners to work less, make more money and regain the passion and drive for success.

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Comments

  1. It’s part of looking at the wider picture isn’t it? I look at the lifetime value of a client before I accept them. I do have a higher turnover of clients than most, because a lot of clients want me to teach them how to do their own tax return and then have it checked, rather than done for them, every year. I’m fine with that because it’s what they want, and a good referral is value to me.

    That’s one element I love about working with quality clients, they know how to say thank you and introduce new clients to me. I love that :)
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..Thinking about your tax return?My Profile

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