Business-building advice from my new book Ingaging Leadership
Everyone on the room nodded when a speaker I heard last year commented on how important it is to cultivate repeat business. He laid out some of the reasons that I am sure you know about already. Repeat customers cost less to acquire, they buy in larger quantities, they refer new customers, they give you valuable feedback and contribute value in lots of other ways.
Yes, every executive in the room nodded and agreed that it is critically important to cultivate repeat business. But I had to wonder, how many of them were actually taking the time to do it? It’s been my observation that too many business leaders believe that it is not their job. It’s something that other people in the business should be handling, right? Or maybe those business leaders think that selling good products or services should do the job of bringing customers and clients back time and time again.
It’s Time to Get Going
If you are a leader who is not devoting enough attention to cultivating repeat and referral business, you are limiting your opportunities to grow. Here are some steps that can start the process.
- Identify your key top customers. To be certain you understand who they are, be sure to speak with your salespeople, customer service representatives and other people on the front lines.
- Start an ongoing conversation with them. Ask how you can improve your business with them, how you compare to your competitors, and more.
- Create ways to encourage future buying. Consider offering special pricing, volume discounts and other incentives.
- Invite them to contribute more. You can set up an advisory council or another entity that allows them to visit you, know you better, and feel valued.
- Share useful information and resources with them. When you reach out and share information, you cultivate a closer working relationship with good customers. Even sending an email that says, “Here’s an article that I think you can use” can establish you as a customer’s provider of choice.
- Ask if they can introduce you to businesses that would benefit from working with you or buying from you. In most cases, they will be happy to do so.
I think you’ll be surprised and delighted to see how happy your customers will be to help you grow your business. Customers like to help. Also, they know that if they refer new customers to you, you will be motivated to return the favor by being more helpful to them. And it starts by simply pinpointing who your best customers are and then starting a conversation with them.