A prospective buyer decides to spend his money on your product, probably after watching advertisements for it, and giving in to the salesmanship and perseverance of your sales team. You don’t want to lose these hard-earned customers. You must make sure that he is a repeat customer, and refers you to others looking for a similar product. Here’s how to build an effective repeat and referral business.
Trust and goodwill: Trust and goodwill will bring in repeat business. A customer is as eager to find a good seller as you are to find a buyer. If you can establish your credibility, he is less likely to check out other sellers. A customer usually plays safe with his money. Earn his trust and make him feel safe.
Product value: Your product must offer the best value at a competitive price. You can hook a customer with aggressive promotions and persuasive advertisements, but you can’t expect repeat business for a shoddy product. Invest in customer surveys and other feedback, research and development, and continuous improvement to create a useful product.
Service over sales: Concentrate on serving your customers. Sales will follow. Never cheat your customer and sell him something that you know is of no use to him. Be honest. Always make sure your primary objective is to best serve your customer. Also, after-sale service matters more than advertising and promotion. Respond promptly to any service/repair complaints; show as much eagerness to serve as you did before sale. Ask your customers for their feedback, and fix problems, if any, as soon as possible.
Personal ‘touch’: A personal touch adds warmth to the relationship between you and your customers. It builds that special bond that makes your customers feel cared for. Maintain a database of your clients’ significant dates, like birthdays or anniversaries. E-cards and mail are a cost-effective mode of keeping in touch on special occasions. You may also go for special hand-signed cards for high-value customers.
Rewards programs. Developing a rewards program is an effective way to encourage your customers to refer your business to other prospective customers. Offer attractive rewards or discounts to customers who bring in referral business.
According to Bill Cates, author of “Get More Referrals Now,” getting customers through referrals is the best way to build your business. Referrals, says Cates, will come your way only:
- If your existing clients are delighted with your service and have absolute trust in your business, and
- You tell them that you need their help in spreading the word among their family, friends and acquaintances.
Building an effective repeat and referral business is not rocket science, but it’s no cakewalk either. But if you make sustained efforts to provide the best product in the market and don’t take the customer for granted, you will get repeat and referral business.