8 Secret Strategies for Earning Repeat Business
Customers, it’s sometimes hard to decide what would you like more, new ones or more business from the current clients.
The former means selling, and I bet you dread even hearing the word. The latter may feel almost impossible to attain, something you have no control over. Something that just happens by itself.
But it rarely does.
In reality, both are ideal. New business means new opportunities. It also means security. As old clients go, new ones replace them and help you to keep your business moving forward.
But business from existing clients costs less to acquire and is more profitable. In fact, it’s often 20% more profitable, according to research by SumAll.
Yet, you only have 27% chance that a person who bought from you once will return to do so again. In business terms, that’s pretty much nothing. Leave this to chance and you probably won’t get to work with them in the future.
Well, unless you start earning repeat business.
The Secret of Repeat Business
There are 2 factors that contribute to earning a repeat business:
- results you provide and,
- your customer service
The first one is obvious, no client will want to work with you again if you don’t offer them results.
The second factor however is more complex. Even with the best results, unless the client has a positive experience in dealing with you, they will not come back. So your challenge is to offer such an exceptional customer service experience that will keep clients coming back.
You can achieve this in many ways:
Be Upfront About Everything
Stuff happens, especially in our industry. Google updates, SERPs fluctuations, links disappearing and many other things, it can all happen. But regardless of whether it’s good or bad news, be upfront to your clients about it. Make sure they are always informed first, they will appreciate it.
Thank Clients For Their Business
You can never thank a client too many times. Express your gratitude and make your clients feel valued and appreciated. It never goes unnoticed.
Give Your Clients Something Extra
Going the extra mile, over delivering, even if it’s a tiniest thing always pays off. This can mean doing something extra for the project or simply sending them a gift related to something they mentioned. Tt shows them how much you care and that single thing is priceless in business relationships.
Build A Personal Relation
It’s a known fact that people do business with people they trust. Apparently, as trust increases, so does the level of commitment. So build personal connections with your clients, they lead to trust.
Refer Business To Them
It’s an old school technique but it works. You can build a better relationship with clients by offering them something they too need – more business. It doesn’t mean that you have to buy from them. But if you know someone who would need their products or services, refer them to your client.
It may sound like an obvious advice but still, realising, meeting and exceeding customers expectations is by far the most powerful retention strategy. If your customer thinks you have under-delivered, they won’t come back. If however they feel they got more than they paid for, providing that you delivered results, they have no reason to go somewhere else next time they need your service. Go above and beyond for your clients and they will reward you, with repeat business.
Compliment Them And Ask For More
Even though you technically can’t ask for more business, there is one way to go around that. After you have finished working on a project with a client, tell them how much you’ve enjoyed it and would like to have the opportunity to work with them again. Some clients are unsure if you’d want to work with them again (yes, it happens). At the same time they may have more business for you. By openly telling them you’d welcome the chance to work on their site again you can get them to come back.
The final element of exceptional customer service is the follow up. It is also the most overlooks one. Many consultants never ring their clients after the project is done, unless they look for work.
A powerful strategy however is to be proactive about business relationship and simply follow up with a client to see if everything works with whatever you did for them. You not only show clients that you care but also initiate a conversation, one that can easily end in a new project on your desk.
There is no surefire way to earn repeat business. Delivering promised results is a good start. But to increase your chances of keeping customers coming back you need to invest in providing exceptional customer service. After all, if your clients get results they want and feel comfortable working with you, there would be no need for them to go anywhere else.
Creative commons image by ion-bogdan dumitrescu / Flickr