As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely heard a lot of buzz about how to nurture customers in today’s business environment. More importantly, do you know why you should nurture customers? Because you want and need repeat business. You want satisfied clients who will sing your praises and naturally refer you to family and friends. Business relationships are important to you.
Regardless of your industry, “one-and-done” doesn’t cut it anymore. In addition to a quality product or service, today’s consumers seek an overall quality buying experience. It’s the best feeling ever when your customers have an excellent experience with your company. However, that fresh, positive energy can be short-lived as your customers move on with their lives after initially doing business with you. Don’t drop the ball.
Nurturing and engaging your customers while they’re still warm is the best way to retain customers, build loyalty, and generate new leads. You’ll gain trust and stand out from your competition. It’s up to you to learn how to nurture customers to help keep those good vibes and solid business relationships rolling for years to come. And that’s a win-win for all involved.
Here are some simple and fun nurturing strategies that work.
Always Ask For Referrals
There’s no doubt word-of-mouth is still the best form of advertising. Outstanding customer service pays off in a big way.
A recent consumer study by the American Marketing Association reports that 75% of American consumers trust personal recommendations over all sources of information when deciding on goods or services.
There’s great satisfaction in having customers who are pleased with your company. They’ll naturally refer you to their family and friends. However, don’t hesitate to outright ask for referrals from past/present customers. Tactfully reaching out for referrals is another way of nurturing and keeping in touch with your clients. Your customers will appreciate that you’re still thinking of them. And chances are good that you’ll score some new leads.
Get in the habit of periodically touching base with your clients via email, social media, postcard, or phone and ask for industry-specific referrals. For example: Do you know anyone currently looking to buy or sell a house? Do you have any new neighbors who might be looking for a doctor or dentist? You’ll love it when that answer is, “Yes, I do,” and you have new prospects at your fingertips.
It’s a common courtesy to thank your customers for their business. However, thanking your customers with a handwritten thank you note is special. Keep a box of thank you cards and a roll of postage stamps at your desk. It just takes a minute to write a heartfelt “thank you” and pop it in the mail. That personal touch is something that your customers won’t soon forget.
Depending on your industry, sending a personal “thank you” gift is appropriate. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, sending a gift basket to clients who just moved into their new home is perfect and will go a long way in nurturing your client.
Always promptly thank anyone who gives you a referral, whether it pans out or not. After all, they have no control over whether you cinch a deal (or not), and you don’t want to discourage anyone from sending more leads your way. If you gain a new customer from a referral, sending a thoughtful gift or handwritten note expressing your appreciation will go a long way in nurturing that ongoing client/agent relationship.
Follow Your Friends
Hopefully, you’ve earned the privilege of calling your customers “friends.” You want your customers/friends to follow you on your social media pages. You will also want to follow your customers as a business person.
Check your customers’ posts when you hop on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram. They might post about a personal or business milestone. Maybe they’ve recently lost a pet or a loved one. These are perfect opportunities to reach out with a kind note or a gift.
You might discover that your customers could benefit from something that your company can offer. Reach out with a suggestion or solution on how your product or service can help. Your customers will appreciate that you care and that you’re taking an interest in their lives.
Return the Favor
Those who send referrals your way can benefit from the same for their businesses and occupations. They may be a contractor, run a hair salon, or a taco truck. Maybe they’re chairing a school or community event. No matter what, everyone can benefit from leads and positive word of mouth. As long as a business is reputable and your words are sincere, it works both ways.
Do your best to do business with those who do business with you. While it’s not always possible to do business with everyone who does business with you, it goes a long way to do what you can.
Make it a point to eat at that restaurant whose owners hired you to paint their building. Nurturing a business relationship can be as simple as buying a raffle ticket from your customer’s kid to support their youth baseball or dance team.
Has it been a while since you’ve been in touch with some clients? Reach out with an email or a greeting on social media. Call and invite them for a golf or lunch date with no agenda. Sending an old-fashioned birthday card or a clipping of their kid’s picture in the paper through the mail stands out a lot in this day and age.
Keep your customers in the loop by sharing interesting or exciting information about their hobbies, community, or business. Ask for your customers’ feedback or opinions on a particular subject. Technology makes this simple. A simple text or an email is all it takes.
No matter how or why you reach out, you just might make someone’s day!
When someone asks about your products or services, your customers will likely first think of you. (Hence, good referrals!) And you’ll stay on your customer’s minds when they need your product or service again.
If you have customers who have stuck with you for a long time, you’re doing something right! Nurture those customer relationships. Reward their loyalty.
Set up a customer rewards program. Throw a customer appreciation party or offer free products or services on business anniversaries. Your customers will appreciate your sincere gratitude for their business, and that’s a win-win for all.
Nurturing your customers isn’t complicated, but it can take time to incorporate it into your routine. However, the benefits are well worth the extra effort. Continuously showing your customers that you value and care about them will pay off with solid business relationships, lifelong friendships, and the ever-important referrals.
To learn more, fill out the form below to download a free copy of our Nurture Report.