Its easy to convince yourself that your customers will be coming back with repeat business because they’re thinking of you when a problem or opportunity arises, but its just not so.

Modern life presents us all with many daily challenges and we forget sometimes who we need to reach out to when we need something doing.

These days people rarely stay in one job and before you know it your contact has moved on and their replacement is now looking for a new supplier.

Your work is far from over once you’ve made that first sale and if you don’t want to spend a fortune every month looking for new customers you’d better start to leverage the existing relationships you already have.

In order to maintain a positive relationship and to maximize the value you’ve got to keep giving your customers good reasons to continue buying, making repeat business transactions.

Just take a look at these two statistics if you’re not convinced;

  1. The cost of gaining a new customer is between 5 to 8 times more than keeping and working with your existing customers and its not hard to understand why when you factor in the cost of sales people, advertising and marketing that every business does in some shape or form.
  2. When it comes to loyalty, 68% of customers stop using a service or just don’t bother to return if they feel neglected. This happens to be the main reason that businesses lose their customers, and why constantly chasing new business is a bad idea if it means your overlooking your current customers.

You need to employ an equal balance between keeping existing customers and gaining new ones so here are 5 essential things you should be doing if you want more repeat business.

Get More Repeat Business By Maintaining Contact And Adding Value Each Time

If you’re not already collecting your prospects and customers details then you need to start making sure you have the contact information of your prospects and customers so that you can maintain a relationship even when they’ve stopped thinking about you.

A lot of businesses I speak with aren’t sure of the last time they spoke to a specific customer, except when a business deal was going down, which was probably some time ago. And with such large gaps in between contact, anything could have happened, and probably has, since then.

A database, even if its just an excel spreadsheet will not only help you to generate direct sales, but also referrals and market feedback, essential to being able to continue servicing your customers now and in the future.

Your database or customer relationship management (CRM) system is not just a list of contacts but the hinge mechanism of building and maintaining relationships.

If you’ve done your system will have names, addresses, telephone numbers (fixed and mobile) and email addresses. Staying in touch should blend together a mix of communications channels where possible utilising telephone, email, SMS and direct mail.

Where things go wrong with communication campaigns used for maintaining contact is a mix that has far too much selling and pitching and not enough content that actually offers any real value and builds a relationship.

So you should be blending together a mix of news, offers, information and recommendations that present value and purpose, not just aim to sell.

Segment Your Database To Divide And Conquer Your Repeat Business Activity

You may think that all your customers buy similar things and are therefore just the same, but as always the devil is in the details.

Differences such as age, sex, buying habits, spending sizes, product preferences, profitability and personal traits will indicate which products or services will be more appropriate for certain prospects and customers.

This helps you avoid sending offers to the wrong people and creating disconnects or doing too much selling, when you should be relationship building.

Understand Your Customer, Show Them You’re Interested And Care And You’ll Get Repeat Businesses

You should never assume anything in business, instead ask, test and do some research to prove your beliefs and save wasting yourself a ton of time and money. Even marketing is not an exact science but the application of a series of principles and tests designed to understand what really works.

So don’t assume what your customers want or think of you.

A simple survey will help you understand what your customers are really thinking and answers questions like;

  • Why do they do business with you ?
  • What they like ?
  • What else they would like ?
  • Whether they’ve used or tried a particular product or service or if they’d like to know more ?
  • Find out if they’d be prepared to do an interview or case study ?
  • Help you collect all contact details ?
  • Get permission to use any information that other prospects and customer may find helpful ?

Add Sales Services That Build Value And Create Repeat Business

I remember working for one business which had been so focused on generating new business and continuously raising its prices that it had forgotten to actually deliver a service to its customers who were ultimately paying its bills, not surprisingly things were going sour.

In fact on one customer survey we ran, once the existing management had been removed and we were left picking up the pieces, we receive a response that I could only call an avalanche of verbal abused targeted at the companies neglect towards them as customers and uses of the technology.

It didn’t take us long to realise that the large maintenance contracts customer were paying for were just not offering enough value, so we decided to build in a series of regular on-site visits and meetings to help customers get more from the technology and value from the money they were paying.

This helped our team to nip problems in the bud early, help customers get better results and receive more appreciation for their work, identify additional sales opportunities and ultimately build a happy customer base that was able to justify their maintenance payments and would refer other business in our direction. A win-win.

Entice Your Customers With Offers And Repeat Business Will be Yours

Within your marketing mix you’re allowed to present prospects and customers with deals and special offers targeted to those that are more likely to buy. Maybe they’ve requested information in the past, bought similar items, showed an interest but were restricted by budgets, now is your chance to turn a stalled sale into a live one.

You can even time offers with seasonal events or changes in your offering that trigger repeat business.