January 18, 2012

The “We Forgot How Great You Are” Trap

BY John Paul Narowski IN Small Business 0 Comment

According to Sandler Sales System, 78% of your current customers will not do business with you again not because they dislike you or are unhappy – it’s because they forgot about you.

whoOut of sight and out of mind

Small businesses may not be aware of this, but customers actually forget brands more often than we think. Customers do business with us, are satisfied – and then get busy.  If they like it enough and time permits, they’ll start telling people about it.

Yet, most of the time, the scenario is that someone asks them where they found a product or helped and provided them the service and their answer is “some guy online” or this ” vendor we’ve been working with” or even “this guy whose been calling on us for a while”.  They are hardly any phrases of referral or recommendation.

You did your part and they liked your product but because they can’t remember the name, how can they refer people to do business with you – or even find you again?

Repeat sales and referrals are the “bread and butter” of any business. Do you make it easy for customers to buy and refer others to buy or do business with you?

The forgetfulness is even more prominent in recurring service based businesses.

For example:  let’s say your a dentist or a hair stylist and have booked someone their next appointment to happen in the next 8 weeks or even a year.   When a client cancels last minute, you lose an hour’s pay. Have several people do this and you might be losing half a day’s worth of business. This often happens when you have no way or system of staying in touch with you customer.

Following a system provides you the framework to develop your relationship with your customer further.  There is so much benefit in automating the process so you energy and focus can be on personalizing the relationship.

Here’s what you can do to make your customers remember you:

The System

  • Customer Database – Have a system in place to capture their information like name, address, contact details (mobile, e-mail), and birthday. When they come visit you, give them a piece of paper where they can write their information.
  • Organize Touch points – Set guidelines of when, where and how you’ll contact your client.  This is your template. Invent it once; let it work for you the rest of the time. The hardest part is creating it.  The biggest benefit is not having to reinvent the wheel thus freeing up your focus and time.

Using the System

The system is there to help make your transactions easier, help you build a relationship with customers, and increase brand awareness. Make sure that your customers don’t forget you. Make use of the system that you are using to get in touch with your customers.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Follow-up – through reminder, emails, tweets, phone calls or newsletters – every customer needs to at least be reminded of you once a quarter.
  • Say thank you – Send your customers an email or a thank you card to extend your appreciation of doing business with them. This will make an impression and make them remember you.
  • Call past clients – Remember your database? When you’re not too busy, you can email or call your clients to remind them about your promos, or if they’re due for their haircut, etc. A creative approach will make your customers come visit you again. Make use of your customer database.
  • Send birthday greetings – Because you have their information, greet them on their birthday. I remember opening an email and a company greeted me on my birthday – it worked liked a charm because I ended up getting things from them as a gift to myself.
  • Send holiday greetings – Stand out from the crowd by staying away from them.  Don’t be the one of a thousand who sends “Season’s Greetings”.  Be the one who sends a July 4th;  or Veteran’s Day or some other holiday not focused on by others.
  • Send anniversary greetings –  My favorite are those emails that say “we’ve been together a year” then there’s an offer or even a simple “happy anniversary”.
  • Re-connect – In your database, there was something that was on their mind, either they were worried or excited about, when you last connected.  Touch base with them and see how that went – just to check in with them.

It’s tough to find new customers and it’s even tougher to be forgotten by customers who once thought the world of us to forget who we are, what we do, or how we can help them. What are you doing today to be memorable?

I’ve been hacking at various business ideas since I was 16. I’m a full stack developer and love crafting user experiences. I’ve been nose deep in code since I put the legos down, and built several successful businesses in the process. I’ve lost some hair, gained some experience and throughly enjoyed the journey.

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