That’s right, you heard me.  Do you touch your customers on a consistent basis?  Are you touching them in the right ways?  When it comes to marketing communications (not sure what you were thinking about), we often focus on prospects and neglect our treasure trove of past and present clients.

Recently, I was conducting an interview with one of my client’s clients in order to write up a testimonial.  When I came to the all-important question of “How did you learn about this service and choose to buy it from [ABC Company]?” the answer not only warmed this marketing consultant’s heart, but also pointed out an important lesson for all of us:

“I had done a small project a few years ago with [ABC Company], and I’ve received their newsletter every month since then.  I always appreciated the educational approach and had seen info on [ABC service offering] over and over.   Finally, one day I just picked up the phone and said ‘Sign me up!’”

Notice that this process took years.  If we don’t regularly communicate with clients after the sale (which 80% of salespeople do not), we may miss the long-term payout.

Depending on your type of business, you may see some of your clients every week or month, or at least with some regular consistency over the course of the year.  These clients should have a good idea of what your company does, and you have likely established a meaningful relationship.  However, you also have clients who are less active:  ones who may have bought from you in the past, but are not currently buying or ones who may only think of you for one particular service instead of the variety you offer.

The old Bell Telephone advertisement reminder to “Reach Out and Touch Someone” still applies today.  You should reach out and touch your customers (and this applies equally well to strategic referral partners) often because you are accomplishing multiple objectives when you send that email, letter, or postcard, including:

  1. Providing valuable information that helps their business.  Carefully consider what you’re sending.  Your goal is education first, sales second.
  2. Letting them see through case studies or testimonials that other businesses just like theirs share similar challenges (no one likes feeling alone), and how you’ve helped to solve those.
  3. Reminding them of all your company’s offerings, not just the ones they already know.
  4. For active clients, you are showing them you really do value their business.
  5. For dormant clients, you are rekindling that warm fuzzy feeling from when you worked together in the past, and prompting them to think of you again.

Need some ideas to get started?   Beyond a basic e-newsletter (which still works!), here are some other noteworthy “reasons to send”:

  • Business building tips
  • Recommend a business book or article (can also be shared via LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)
  • “Did You Know?”  Share a quick tip about your services, or debunk a common myth.
  • Share company updates that affect the customer, such as a redesigned, easier-to-use Website, a new service offering, a contest, a new social media presence, etc.
  • “Thank you for your business”
  • “What can we do to improve our service to you?”
  • “What new service offerings would you like to see from us?”
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
  • Invite to an event:  Customer appreciation lunch, Webinar, conference or trade show you are sponsoring, etc.

With all of these ideas, keep in mind the critical question the customer is asking him/herself:  “What’s in it for me?”  Always focus on what the customer would care about, not just what your company wants to broadcast.

If you’re still not convinced, one more example should do the trick:  Years ago, as an inside sales rep for a software company, I was handed a list of 3,000 “customers” to whom I was to introduce myself as their new account manager.  As I worked through the list, I found that only about 10% of those could truly be considered “active” customers.  The rest were people who might recognize the company name, having bought something from us at one point in time, but as one man told me “You’re the first person to contact me from [Company] in 10 years.  I wasn’t even sure y’all were still in business!”  Yikes.   Don’t let this become your company’s relationship with your clients!

By the way, the irony has not escaped me that you are probably reading these words and thinking “Hmmm. . . it seems like a while since I’ve heard from REV Demand. . .”  We (sheepishly) agree!  You can look forward to seeing these types of business development tips coming from us every month from now on.  Scout’s honor.

Let me know your thoughts on touching customers!

Tara

P.S.  Did you find this info valuable today?  Great!  Please share with a friend or colleague.

Tara is focused on her clients and the need to get their messaging out in the best way possible. Her guidance and advice come from experience and expertise in effective communication to clients and prospects. Her advice to me over the years has been extremely helpful. Tara is a professional in every sense of the word! | David Shavzin

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