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If You Haven’t Reactivated Past or Inactive Customers, You May Be Sitting on a Gold Mine of Instant Income

Too many business owners spend valuable time chasing new customers, when past buyers or existing customers can actually be a greater source of Instant Income.

Assuming that your past buyers had a good experience with you and that you have nurtured the relationship over the years, it’s easy to develop special offers on new products and services for them—and sell them into a new opportunity.

What could you do to reactivate past customers?

Answer the questions below to plan your campaign:

* When you look at your database, which groups of customers have stopped doing business with you?
* What were their business or personal needs when they were doing business with you? What did they buy? What problems did they have? Do they still have those problems?
* What could you offer to meet their needs immediately? What kind of offer would they respond to?
* How can you easily and inexpensively contact them—by telephone? e-mail? postcard? letter?

Shamelessly Bribe Customers to Begin Doing Business With You Again

Whether you offer a special bonus, a free consultation, a one-time reduction in fees or some other incentive, let the past customer know that you are eager to serve their needs again and have developed a special package just for them. This is important. People like to feel acknowledged. They enjoy receiving preferential treatment. By putting a special package or offer together, you can shamelessly bribe them into doing business with you again.

And, if you can quickly write a letter (including the special offer) and email it to addresses in your database, you could have inactive customers calling you to purchase within minutes of hitting the send button.

Don’t Give Up…Customers and Prospects Have Changing Needs

Even if you don’t reactivate past customers with your first email or letter, don’t give up on them. The fact is that people’s needs are constantly changing. What they weren’t interested in a month ago, they desperately need today. What they didn’t see value in last winter, they’d pay any price to get their hands on now. What they didn’t feel comfortable with last year, they’re willing to try next week. Persistence pays off. And as long as you can generate a profit from mailing or contacting your past customers—my recommendation is…keep doing it.

Promote Products and Services to Past Buyers with Unique Offers

What kinds of offers can you make to past buyers to create immediate sales?

* Unique pricing — While I never recommend simply lowering the price of something, if you have a specific reason to do so and can make that case to your past buyers, special pricing is an excellent incentive for them to buy. Additionally, if your rationale for dropping the price is that you have only a limited supply left, you can certainly offer that inventory to your past buyers at a discounted price. In fact, you might have such small quantities of some items that you choose to promote the liquidation only to your past buyers…a smaller group than your larger house list.

* Special bonuses not offered to other segments of your list — If you have inventory items that could serve as an appealing bonus to an offer for a new product or service — and those items are in short supply — you can add them on as special bonuses your past buyers will receive when they purchase your latest product or service. This is an ideal strategy if those inventory items are in short supply and would likely be depleted if sending the offer to your entire database of names. Other special bonuses that work well are those you get from suppliers and vendors such as special add-ons or volume merchandise bonuses. If you’re a consultant, you can set aside a limited number of consultation times especially for past buyers.

* Special packaging or bundles — It’s a proven marketing concept that when you bundle products or services together at a special price, you not only boost the total sale to an individual customer, but you also tend to sell more units. In fact, you’d be surprised how many prospects will choose the bundled package over just a single item. Past buyers are no different. Which is why you can offer them unique components that go together — usually from your regular inventory or traditional menu of services — selling much more in the process. It’s because of bundling that you should always look at offering a package to past buyers first. Because this is such a responsive marketing method, you may actually sell out of bundles — or book all available appointment times — simply by offering a special package of services or bundle of product to just your past buyers (rather than your combined list of past buyers and prospects).

* Special financing or terms — Because past buyers are an excellent source of future sales, you can begin to track with some predictability the kinds of products and services they will buy. If you have the ability to offer special terms, financing, invoice factoring or other terms — but only to a limited number of creditworthy accounts, by all means, offer these terms first to your most reliable past buyers.

* Advance selection from one-of-a-kind items — One of my favorite promotions of all time was one that Jay Abraham and his business partner conducted selling historic newspapers from the 1770’s — the time of America’s formation and its first government. These were fascinating bits of history suitable for hanging in a library or other place of distinction. The business partner wrote a compelling sales letter to past buyers of other collectibles (a list he owned) telling the story of the impressive cache of newspapers never before seen by collectors, and offering the best items in the collection on a first-come, first-served basis. The collectors snapped them up within days of us mailing the letter. In fact, by the time we sent the letter to endorsers’ lists Jay and his partner had joint-ventured with, the collection was all but depleted of the best specimens, which had all been bought by grateful past buyers.

Use Voice Broadcast to “Call” Thousands of Past Customers With a Message in Your Own Voice

If you’re a solo entrepreneur, you can actually make calls to past buyers yourself with a unique offer—then drive them to a call center to place their order. How? With voice broadcasting technology.

For about 11¢ per name, you can record a one-minute (or longer) sales message, then broadcast that in your own voice to thousands of customer or prospect phone numbers. The key is to record a message in your natural speaking voice—as if you had just dialed that prospect personally. This provides a high-touch effect with very low-touch technology. Just the fact that you called is very powerful because so few small businesses (perhaps not even your competitors) use this technology effectively.

Creative Commons License photo credit: SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent)

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