If Your Business Lost Customers and Revenue During 2008, 2009, and 2010, Here’s How to Recapture That Momentum — and Build for the Future.
STEP #1: ASK PAST CUSTOMERS TO BEGIN DOING BUSINESS WITH YOU AGAIN
If you have yet to make an effort to reactivate past customers — or if you haven’t yet looked at your customer list to see how many inactive customers or clients you have, you may be sitting on a gold mine of instant income.
Often times, past customers have no idea why they stopped purchasing from you or stopped using your services. All they need is a reminder of why they enjoyed buying from you…and a special incentive to begin doing so again.
If you’re a retail location, why not contact customers with a special item you don’t normally carry but that they might be interested in? For service businesses, you could contact past customers by phone and suggest they come back to finish their services (if they didn’t already) or that they may need your service again after going for so long without it. If you’re a doctor, why not offer a mini-physical or other type of test your patients should be doing every year but aren’t. Explain to them in simple language the benefits of staying on top of their health and the downside of not doing so. You can even contract with an outside service to bring in specialized equipment to perform tests over a two-week period–then invite past patients to come in for evaluation.
What Else Works Well for Reactivating Past Customers?
Treat them as you would a preferred customer — Send or call with a special price or purchase offer on items they previously purchased. Be specific in your offers — If you know what they previously bought on a regular basis, offer them that item again at a special price or as part of a special package. They’ll thank you for knowing about their needs and for offering ways to save them money. Invite past customers to a special event at your store — If you own a consulting firm or professional practice, why not schedule an evening workshop with a speaker on a special topic of interest, then invite past customers to attend? Be sure to present a special offer just before you close for the evening, so you turn the event into a true instant income opportunity.
STEP #2: ASK CURRENT CUSTOMERS AND PROSPECTS TO REFER BUSINESS
It’s not enough to simply ask customers and prospects to refer family, friends and colleagues to your business — you have to be prepared with materials such as brochures, email messages and referral cards that your customers, vendors, colleagues (and even competitors) can use to promote you. While not every referring party will pass on your printed item or preview CD (word-of-mouth is actually the most common form of referral), the truth is most of the successful referral systems in use today couldn’t exist without these “pass-alongs.”
What Are Easy Ways to Ask for Referrals?
>> Follow-up immediately on positive customer comments by handing them a business card, brochure or referral card they can pass along to a friend. Specific offers on these cards and brochures are critical such as: Come in for a free evaluation. Special first-time guest package when you present this card at your first session. Immediate 10% discount off our already lowest pricing — guaranteed — when you present this card. Be sure to train your entire staff on a simple script to use when the customer makes a comment.
>> Ask a Customer to Refer You to a Specific Person or Company
If you get outstanding results for your customers and clients, you are well within the limits of the relationship to ask for a referral. But instead of asking clients to simply refer someone they think would be a good client, why not ask for a referral to a specific person or company you know your client has a relationship with? Or ask for a referral from one division of a corporation to another.
Making a specific request causes customers to actually take action on referring — whereas simply asking them to mention you to “someone they know” may not create an obligation or to-do item in their mind. And remember, they should be delighted to do this for you, especially if you’ve gotten them results or helped them make money.
>> Ask for a Testimonial Letter and Three Referral Names
One of the most effective referral strategies is to ask for a recommendation letter from customers and clients — along with the names and contact information of at least three people you can send it to. While this may seem presumptuous, be aware that the key to successfully asking for the letter is to create the results the customer or client wants. Over-deliver in terms of service, attention, results and work product. When you do that, asking for a letter will be easier, and you’ll get more customers who will be happy to do it.
Stay tuned next week as I bring you more ways to get new customers, generate more income and establish revenue systems in your business.
Editor, Instant Income Revenue Report
P.S. No matter which way the economy turns in 2011, you can be prepared to profit. With pre-scheduled marketing campaigns, advertising that makes the phone ring, and sales strategies that convert prospective customers to cash-paying buyers, the Instant Income system can help. Click here to read more about it.