Businesses spend thousands of dollars every year on advertising to attract new customers. Marketing is necessary to build a strong brand and push products to new markets. However, high marketing budgets do not always translate to higher sales.
An alternative way of increasing sales with a low budget is building strong relationships with customers. Every entrepreneur should focus on retaining repeat customers as the business gains new customers. All leads and first-time customers are potential repeat customers.
However, a business’ strategies in customer relationship management determine if first-time customers become loyal customers. If you have been focusing all your resources on marketing, it is time to channel part of them to customer relationships. Here are some ways you can build and improve customer relationships in your business.
1. Create a Client Database
You cannot build relationships without communication and communication requires contact information. Your interactions with your customers must go beyond closing a sale. Communication must continue after the sale even if the customer takes several weeks or months without buying another product. Hence, you must find ways to collect personal information from all your customers. Create a database with the data and use it to add value to your customers. For instance, you can send informative newsletters via email. Some customers find emails or newsletters from sellers as annoying. Before you start sending such emails, inform the clients that you are adding them to your mailing list.
2. Build Your Business Network
The number of contacts in your customer database indicates the number of customers you reach with your email marketing plans. You need to expand your network to build your customer database. Potential customers are not limited to strangers who visit your offline or online shops. Your friends, colleagues, schoolmates, family and their connections are all potential customers. Make sure that they are aware of your business. When you attend social or networking events, take as many contacts as you can. Give business cards out as well, so that your new connections know what you offer. Do not stop at getting new contacts. Initiate a conversation immediately after the event with each new contact and add them to your mailing list with their consent.
3. Categorize Your Customers
If you analyze your profits for several months, you will realize that about 70% to 80% of your total sales come from 20% to 30% of all your customers. The statistics are true for all businesses. Use this truth to allocate your resources effectively. Analyze your customer database and identify the customers that drive your sales. Your email marketing strategies and other customer relationship management strategies should target these clients. Focusing on repeat customers does not mean that you ignore the one-time buyers. Some of them eventually become part of the 20% in the future as you continue to market your products to them.
4. Communicate Constantly with Your Customers
Consistency in communication is important in building good relationships. Your clients should know when to expect your updates or offers from you. Do not wait until a customer buys something to communicate. Interact with your connection through different channels constantly. For instance, you can use a short message to send a thank you note after a sale and emails for a long newsletter. Another way to keep your customers engaged is to interact with them on social media platforms. Remember that if you do not talk to your clients, your competitors will.
5. Get a Customer Relationship Management System
By now, you can tell that a lot of effort and time goes into building relationships with clients. Fortunately, you can get a system to help you connect with your clients easily. The best approach to customer relationship management is to integrate the function with all other processes in your businesses. NetSuite is one of the best systems to use to manage customer relationships. You can use the system to integrate all functions or processes in your business. For instance, Salesforce integration with NetSuite ERP enables your sales personnel to connect with clients more easily. Your personnel can collect contact information from different points of sales or interactions with clients.
6. Reward Your Loyal Customers
You can turn your customers into sales personnel by rewarding their decisions to buy from your business. Satisfied customers are the best ambassadors for your business. They will talk about your products and customer care to their colleagues, families, and friends. However, they need incentives to sustain such conversations. Offer rewards to your repeat customers to encourage them to keep buying from you. You can also use rewards to encourage new customers to become repeat customers. You do not have to spend a fortune on rewards. Give simple rewards like discounts on the next purchase, after-sale services, or updates that may interest your clients. Alternatively, you can have a reward system through which clients earn points after each sale. They can trade the points for products. The rewards should not only cover repeat sales but also referrals of other repeat customers.
7. Address Customer Complaints
Customers trust brands that listen and respond to their complaints. One unsatisfied customer may cost you many more customers in the future. Remember that your efforts in customer relationship management are aimed at retaining loyal customers while adding new clients to your database. If a customer raises a complaint, address it immediately. The client may or may not have a good reason to complain, but he or she deserves a response from your team. Do not ignore comments from unsatisfied customers on your social media platforms. Always bear in mind that potential clients are watching how your business treats its customers.
It is possible to boost your sales with a low budget if you allocate enough resources to building relationships with your existing clients. If you have not interacted with your clients beyond price negotiations, you need to start collecting their contact details immediately. Keep your clients engaged on all platforms at all times. Your conversations with your clients should add value to their lives. Remember that your competitors are also trying to win the same clients. Whichever strategies you use to build relationships, ensure that you send a consistent message of a trusted reputable brand to your clients. Remember to reward your loyal customers for trusting your brand and referring their connections to your business.