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Getting Your Customers to Sell You- Creating fans and champions

By Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey |

Over the years I have discover, quite by accident, that my best investment in building my business and sales is in taking care of my existing customers. When they are happy, and more than satisfied with my products or service they will talk about me to their friends and colleagues. Some will even go the extra mile to becoming fans or champions and telling their friends and colleagues that they ‘must’ deal with me if they want the best value or service.

  • Go the extra mile
    One of the most effective activities in building loyalty and turning customers into repeat buyers, raving fans and champions of your service or business is to go the extra mile. By this I mean, doing more than would be normal to help them achieve the success or satisfaction they wanted. Have you ever experienced having someone going way past what would normally be included in your purchase? Did it catch your attention and make you take notice? How can you do this with your customers?

  • Do the unexpected
    How many times have you been positively surprised in dealing with a sales person or company? They gave you more than you expected, or did something you thought would be an extra? How did you feel? How can you do that in your business? Are there some small value added areas or ‘extras' that you can incorporate into your service or product mix? How about including some items that other competitors charge extra for, or don't offer at all? Do you think that would help to create a positive experience in the minds of your clients?

  • Follow up for complete satisfaction
    One of the areas for growth in providing real value-added service is in the follow-up or follow-through. How frequently have you had someone you'd dealt with call you a while later to see how you like your purchase and checking to see how it's working? Sadly, too many sales people miss a great opportunity to build profitable long-term relationships, by simply following up. Customer service is pro-active and deals with the little ‘adjustments' before they become major irritants. I think we're too scared of the possibility of hearing negative comments, or having to go out to fix something. How sad!

    The very thing that can turn customers into loyal fans and we're afraid to do it. Many of the most successful companies have a 100% complete satisfaction – whatever it takes policy. Do you? How will you incorporate this area of customer service into your process?

  • Keep in touch
    On a parallel path, how many companies can you think of that have taken the time to keep in touch with you after you've finished paying for the service or product? Sadly again, very few!

    Part of building a positive relationship and turning customers into loyal fans and enthusiastic champions can be simply taking a positive step to keep in contact. How can you build in a system to allow you to track your customers? How will you find ways to keep in touch? What commitment will you make to ensure it gets done?

    Challenge or Exercise:

    Take a moment and think of some other ways that will help you build those relationships that turn customers into repeat buyers, fans and champions.

    Are there any opportunities you've missed to establish this type of customer relationship? It is never too late to do what is right and to ask for a second chance. Keep in mind the potential life time value potential of your customers.

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