How To Expand Your Products And Increase Customer Revenue
Provide Your Customers With a Continuous Stream of Products and Services They Need and Want
If a trusted clothing store wrote you a letter about special merchandise that they just received, detailing the style, quality and price, would you have a tendency to go check it out? Especially, if the store focused the offer on items of interest and you hadn't purchased clothes lately?
- So, when was the last time that you sent a letter to your current customers, telling them about new merchandise or additional services you provide or letting them know about a special deal?
If your dentist sent you a brochure with pictures, educating you on the new "one-time, in-office teeth whitening procedure" they now perform. Would you be prone to calling them if you desired whiter teeth? How much more likely would you be to get this procedure done than if they never sent such a letter or discussed this with you in person?
- So when was the last time you tried to introduce your clients to other products or services that you provide but which they don't purchase? And have you educated them on why this would be to their best interest?
If you buy a furnace, or water purifier or a bicycle, do these items ever need to be serviced? Or if you buy a software program, do you ever wish you had someone to train you on how to use it?
- Do you provide training or service on the items you sell? If so, when was the last time that you followed up with your clients to see if they had a need?
This strategy focuses exclusively on how you can get your customers to purchase more of what you provide.
Often existing and past customers are forgotten by businesses. The assumption is that when they need something they will come in or call. Businesses with this attitude are missing out on enormous amount of revenue that comes from staying in continuous contact with their customers.
Providing your customers with a continuous stream of products and services involves:
- Staying in continuous contact with your customers
- Conditioning them to purchase more often
- Expanding their purchase patterns to include more of what you provide
If you provide a quality service and a quality product, then your customers will be open to a variety of items that you introduce to them. It cost 500% more to get a new customer them to keep the ones you have. Why put your time and capital at risk to acquire new customers until you fully tap your existing customer reservoir to the max.
Three customer types create opportunities for motivating your customers to continually purchase
Customer Type #1 - Current Active Customers
Your current active customers should be purchasing from you regularly. In addition, they should be open to purchasing other products and services that you offer as well.
So what other products or services do your customers need that are related to what you originally sold them? It's important that you understand that you're really performing a valuable service for your customers by filling their needs and eliminating the hassle of finding others to perform these services.
Customer Type #2- Inactive Customers
Customers are inactive for a variety of reasons. What else can your customers purchase that's related to the original product or service they purchased (even if they don't need the original product anymore)?
For example, did they previously purchase golf equipment but haven't purchased again in a while? Maybe it's because they don't need any additional clubs. But they might need golf balls or a special putting gadget or possibly golf lessons?
Many of these customers can be reactivated with a simple letter reminding them of your service. Jay Abraham tells a story about a chiropractor (Jordan Young) that sent 400 of his inactive clients a free adjustment as a Christmas gift. Since this was a slow time, he had excess capacity. He had something like 225 come in for the free service and 75 became patients once again. With a Lifetime Value per patient of $2,500, that was well worth the price of the stamps.
This is where your customers either were dissatisfied or stopped using you, or they were indifferent and use someone else out of convenience. Often businesses assume that once they lose a client, they have lost them forever. This is a costly error. If they stopped using you due to indifference, you merely must show them how you have improved or are now better at meeting their needs. Then provide a compelling offer, such as a free trial, and you will win a substantial percentage of them back.
In the case where you blew it and failed to meet their needs, you must methodically and patiently earn back their trust. Shift your focus to providing better service. Send letters talking about the improvements you have made, announce new key employees you hire, mail these older clients every four weeks and so on. Never make the mistake of assuming you have lost your customers indefinitely.
Customer Type #3 - Prospects that inquired but did not purchase
People often need to "kick the tires" and get comfortable with making a purchase before they take action. Another reason why people inquire but don't purchase right away is the fact that they need more information before making a decision. Someone learning about laser corrective surgery may need to do research and get educated on the risks and what specifically is involved. Or they may need to convince their spouse to spend the money.
They may be looking for a low quality alternative or a related product or service. For example, someone that looks seriously at a Lincoln Navigator, the luxury four wheel drive that costs $50,000, may really love the vehicle but determines that it's just too expensive. However, the Ford Expedition is almost the identical vehicle but it costs $10,000 to $15,000 less. Isn't it logical that many "non-Navigator purchasers" will buy an Expedition instead? Therefore, by simply referring them to a specific Ford dealer, the Lincoln dealership can profit from the referral.
The important thing to point out is that many of the "non-purchase" prospects are really customers waiting for the right time or offer or education in order to move to purchase and therefore, consistent follow up is critical to winning them as customers.
Three opportunities to get these three customer types to purchase continuously from you.
Opportunity #1 - Offer Your Customers the Same Types of Products or Services That They Currently Purchase From You.
Your customers have already demonstrated in the past that they will buy certain items from you. So don't wait for them to come back. You can trigger their repurchase by sending them a letter, calling them or discussing it at the point of purchase. This one opportunity is overlooked by 90% of small businesses today.
For example, say you purchased a computer from Dell Computers®. However, a few years later your system is badly out of date and there is a new state-of-the-art system. Dell begins sending all of their loyal customers regular updates on the latest state-of-the-art systems. Each time you get a little more motivated until your current system no longer meets your needs, at which time you buy the turbo-charged new computer.
Dell develops a relationship with their customers and then turns them into customers for life! They go above and beyond in service, have a generous return policy and consistently communicate with their clients.
Opportunity #2 - Expand Your Customer's Purchase Patterns by Selling Them Other Products and Services They Don't Currently Purchase From You.
If someone buys a product or service from you, what else might he or she or a family member need that you provide? Businesses make the fatal mistake of thinking people are aware of all of the products and services they sell. As an example, if you provide landscaping maintenance, do your customers know about your fertilizer program or mosquito abatement or snowplowing in the winter?
This example also highlights how important your customer database becomes in following up with your customers? The more you know about their purchase habits, the better you can determine what other items they may purchase. Once Dell sells you a computer, they can then sell you accessories, additional storage, a larger monitor, a faster modem and so on.
Expanding your customers purchase patterns may also include motivating them to purchase more of the current products and services they already buy. Your customers may purchase exclusively during the week, for example. Therefore, getting them to also purchase or take advantage of your service on the weekends would have a dramatic impact on your revenue.
Some examples of this include:
- A hotel that motivates their customers to come spend a quiet relaxing weekend with their better half.
- An accountant that, during slow times of the year, offers to do business consulting, come to the business owners office and set up their bookkeeping system or assist with getting them badly needed financing
Opportunity #3 - Provide Service or Training to Your Customers
If your product or service involves the need for future service then you should be the one providing this to your clients. For example, when a carpet company installs carpet, they know that the customer will need their carpets cleaned within 1-2 years.
If your product or service involves the need for future training then you should also be the one providing this to your clients. For example, if you're a consultant and help a company implement a new computer system or sales training program, there is typically a need for follow up training to ensure the client maximizes their results?
How these leveraged opportunities apply to different business types
First, let's look at Repeat Purchase Businesses
A Video Store can send their inactive customers a coupon for a "free movie" or " buy one get one free" or "free popcorn and soda with a movie." They can also send their clients a letter educating them about the value of cleaning the internal parts of their DVD player on a regular basis. They could further offer to sell their customers tickets to other family or entertainment activities.
A Telephone Service Provider can once again offer their customers voice mail or call waiting. Customers are generally given an opportunity to purchase these services only at the point of installation. Perhaps they didn't think they needed call waiting initially or perhaps they had an answering machine which later stopped functioning. They could also offer a special deal on an additional line for the Internet or fax machine. People often will struggle with the inconvenience of having just one line simply because they fail to take action and order another one. They can also offer them phones, answering machines, credit cards, headsets, time saving equipment and so on.
Random or Infrequent Repeat Purchase Businesses:
A Wellness Physician may have over 3,000 patients; some come on a preventative health basis and the balance come only when they're ill. This doctor stocks a premium line of vitamins and minerals, which he prescribes only for specific patient concerns. He may reach 10% of his patients in this way. This means 90% of his patients are completely unaware of the incredible benefits of these vitamins (they're five times more absorbent and have a molecular structure that binds them to the cells 80% more effectively than standard vitamins)
What if he wrote a letter to the 90% who don't buy these vitamins… passionately educating them on the benefits? More energy, better memory, less disease and offered them a special introductory price and a 100% guarantee. Would a large number of these patients buy?
These patients have already shown that they're into alternative health, so they're the perfect audience. And more importantly, they trust the doctor! Many of them probably are currently buying the "garbage vitamins" and spending similar money. If only 5% of his patients purchased just $40 per month in vitamins, he would generate $75,000 per year in revenue and $25,000 in profit. Over five years those profits would equal $125,000!
Now, would these patients be open to other such health-oriented items that the doctor recommended? Especially if each item he recommended was of good value and delivered the benefits he promised. Are his patients better off because he made these vitamins available? Are they appreciative of his thoughtfulness? Are they more prone to refer him? Are the inactive patients more apt to come back to him?
What about an accountant? She can tell her business clients about her consulting services. Rather than wait until year-end, she can provide quarterly evaluations which helps keep her clients on track. She can also educate clients about the other services she provides – payroll, estate planning, and outsource bookkeeping. If they use her only for year-end taxes, they may be totally unaware that she offers these other services. She can offer to train the client's staff on Quickbooksâ so they can do the legwork more efficiently - and so on.
An Orthodontist can educate his patients (the parents or adults) on having their children come in at a younger age to get preventive work done. He can offer to put braces on the parents - even educating them on the "invisible braces" that are available.
He can also tell his patients about other appearance enhancements - decorative eyewear, teeth whitening and plastic surgery, and recommend other health care professionals to his trusted patients as well.
Single Purchase Business.
A Contractor can stay in contact with their customers and suggest home improvements that would enhance the client's home. If they had done a large job initially, they should have good insight on the customer's needs and potential wants. They can also suggest a patio cover for the patio they previously installed. Or offer to screen their porch. Finally, they can suggest installing a built-in entertainment center in their basement.
10 Step Implementation Process
Step 1 - Identify which products or services would be good candidates for an offer to your clients.
- What products or services, which you have not promoted lately could you offer to your clients?
- What other related items, which they have not purchased, could you introduce to your customers or other family members?
If you don't have a program currently in place where you send regular offers to your clients, then you will want to select your most valued product or service, especially if your customers tend to need reminding in order to repurchase. For example, if you teach golf lessons, by simply educating your clients on a new technique and promising some expected results you can stimulate them to renew their lessons. Often just a simple hello note is enough to get action.
- What follow up service or training do your customers require as a result of purchasing your product or service?
Step 2 - Which types of customers are you going to make your offer to
First, is your product or service applicable only to your existing customers, your inactive customers or to both? A major Supermarket sent a $10 coupon to 900 customers that had been inactive for 90 days or more. Over 300 past customers took advantage of the offer. Of those, over 150 became regular customers once again.
(They would not make such an offer to active customers because it would have cost them a fortune and provided no real benefit for them).
Second, is your offer applicable to all customers or only those that have a particular interest? If you're a sporting goods store and baseball season is approaching, you may wish to send a targeted offer just to this group of customers.
Step 3 - Determine why someone would want to purchase these items from you
Why should your customers want to purchase these items from you? What is the benefit they get? Does the client improve performance, health, save time, money, earn a special bonus, gain a convenience, improve appearance, or priority service?
Step 4 - Select just ONE to get started
After evaluating your answers to these questions, decide which follow-up opportunity you will focus on first. In addition, what group of customers will you make your offer to?
Step 5 - Determine marginal profitability
The Supermarket had 300 customers take advantage of their offer and 150 return as regular customers.
Since the average family spends $400 or so per month at the grocery store, these 150 revived customers will generate $720,000 per year and $3,600,000 over the next five years! Gross profit margins at a grocery store are perhaps 20%. Therefore, the Lifetime Value of these 150 customers is three-quarters of a million dollars! The promotion cost them only $2,250 in free groceries and about $600 in mailings - obviously an excellent return.
Step 6 - Designing Your Program
There are 5 elements of the program you need to customize.
There is a "tool" you will need in order to get the most out of this strategy.
First is a Customer Database. Your customer database will enable you to evaluate your customers purchase patterns to identify both their current frequency of purchase and lack of purchases of items you feel they should or would purchase if educated and motivated to do so. The more focused your offer is, the more likely you will be to make a sale.
If a Wellness Doctor tracks his patients by specific ailment (back pain, arthritis, headaches etc.}, he can recommend specific vitamin and mineral supplements to specific ailment groups.
Element #1 - Determine what the offer will be
The first thing you need to do is to determine what your specific offer will be to your customers. At what price will you offer the product or service? If you are merely "re-activating" or reminding your customers that it's time to purchase, then you may not need to reduce the price at all.
For example, a specialty shoe store that has a group of customers that buy the latest fashions each year. They may only need to inform these customers of the merchandise availability, and perhaps give them an exclusive buying opportunity before it's offered to the general public.
If you're trying to get them to expand their purchase patterns, either by buying additional products or services or including other family members, you may want to include an incentive price to motivate them to try something new or abandon their current merchant.
For example, a Yellow Page Publisher, who wants to offer their customers their new Direct Mail Services may want to charge only half-price for the first mailing or offer to design the mailing for free to motivate the purchase.
Another example would be a hair salon. They certainly should consider a "free first visit" when they're trying to cross-sell their customer to use their manicure service or motivate the husband to come in as well. After all, their Lifetime Value is enormous, and the probability of them converting to a regular customer is so high because of their current relationship.
If you're introducing your customers to your training or maintenance service, then you may choose to offer some incentive to motivate them to let you demonstrate the quality of your service and the benefits they can derive.
The next thing for you to consider in your offer is whether you need to motivate your customers to purchase by including value added benefits or bonuses?
The Yellow Page Publisher could charge full rate if they also included free design work and offered to increase the size of their Yellow Page advertisement as a bonus. The important thing in this example is the fact that the client perceives they're getting $100 per month in free Yellow Page advertising. Plus another $300-$400 in design work, both of which costs the publisher zero.
Reduce or eliminate the risk of the purchase
Offering a guarantee is of virtually no risk if you first scientifically test the offer and measure the returns. If the increased profit exceeds the cost of returns, then you only win with the guarantee.
If your customer is merely purchasing their regular item(s) then there is generally no need to offer a guarantee. You may however want to test a money back guarantee to see if it stimulates additional sales.
If you're expanding your clients purchasing patterns, or introducing them to your training or maintenance service, you will want to strongly consider a guarantee. This can either replace any discounts or value added services so the offer is irresistible!
For example, the hair salon could charge full price for the manicure with a 100% money back guarantee. They could take this a step further by providing a value added bonus - free polish, a pedicure, a sample basket worth $10 or free movie tickets and so on. They could even discount the first visit 50%.
Let me explain why you should be willing to make such outrageous offers.
First, be sure you understand the Lifetime Value of your customer.
The hair salon that adds a manicure to their client's purchase will generate $1,000 of additional revenue per year (Over $5,000 over the five-year average customer life). Now, using a 50% margin, that's $2,500 in their pocket! That's well worth offering two stacked incentives plus a guarantee to get a customer to add manicuring to their regular purchase pattern. The cost is peanuts compared with the profit stream.
The hair salon can now upsell this client nail conditioning products, premium nail polish, a nail dryer, etc. And since the client comes in more often (hair + nails) the salon now has many more opportunities to sell them shampoo, brushes and so on. This continues to pile on the profits.
They can then condition this client to come in at desired intervals. This increases their profits by another 10-20% or $250-$500, compared with their previous pattern.
In addition, they have added a whole new referral source. If the client is happy with the manicure, then they will gladly refer the salon to their friends, family members and co-workers.
And if they get just one new referral customer from their "expanded" client, they will duplicate this $3,000 lifetime manicure profit. And if that new referral customer either expands their purchase pattern to include hair cuts or refers someone else, the salon earns another $3,000 and so on.
Element #2 - Determining Your Script
Now that you have identified your product or service that you will offer to a specified group of your customers, what are you going to say? Your offer should contain these 8 elements that make up a compelling offer:
- A specific self-serving benefit headline (and sub-headline) or first paragraph.
- The specific benefits and outcome they will receive.
- Product or Service Benefits and Features.
- The reason they should purchase the item and why from you.
- The specific actions you will take (including price and terms)
- The specific action they are to take.
- A Compelling Bonus or Incentive, if appropriate.
- How you will minimize or eliminate their risk.
- PS - the headline for the headline - the key elements of your offer.
For your clients that you're reactivating, the offer will be rather simple:
It has been almost two years since your last physical. With your history of heart challenges, we recommend a complete evaluation every two years to ensure we keep you in perfect health.
(A specific self-serving benefit headline, reason they should get service, and specific outcome.)
The exam will cover a general physical, a stress test, a chest x-ray and complete blood work. (The specific actions you will take.)
As the process will require two one-hour visits, I suggest you call us now to ensure availability that works best for you. (The specific action they are to take.)
If you want to bring Mary in for a check-up as well, I will be happy to waive the $20 co-payment. (Price incentive.)
In addition, I just came across the best low-fat cookbook I've ever seen. The dishes are really tasty ( what a concept), and quick to make as well. Remind me when you come in and I'll give you one as a gift. (Bonus)
Let me take this time to share with you how much I appreciate your and Mary's business and the continual referrals you have provided over the years.
To your health,
Dr. Raymond Johnson
PS Are you still staying with that exercise program we set you up on?
This letter is very personal and typically motivates action.
One Critical Distinction to note here. This follow up process is not time consuming! The doctor can write a template letter designed to be sent at the appropriate times to the group of patients that have heart conditions. Then he can simply modify the personal remarks by using a voice recorder to add a personal note to each patient's letter. The clerical staff can then prepare the letters.
If the doctor can personalize 20 patient letters in an hour, and if this results in just 2 patients coming in for a $1,000 evaluation, that's $2,000 per hour (not to mention the cumulative effect of the expanded referrals, etc.).
If the item you're offering your customers is unique or if you're introducing your clients to an additional product or service, you may want to elaborate on the benefits to motivate your clients to purchase.
Here's a letter a shoe store might send to customers who always buy the latest fashions.
Dear Mrs. Hansen, (personalize if possible)
We just received the exclusive "Austrian Virgin Lamb Boots" which have been unavailable due to the incredible demand in Europe. We're the first in the Northwest Suburbs to get our hands on just 20 pair of these elegant boots that keep your feet warm even at minus 30 degrees. We wanted to offer them to our VIP clients like you before we make them available to the public. (self-serving benefit - warmth and why they should buy -exclusive).
The leather goes through a process where they hand stretch it and work the special softening and waterproofing agents deep into the leather. This gives them unparalleled softness and enables them to continue looking new for years to come.
The virgin lambs wool, which is the key to their incredible warmth, is so soft you feel like you're slipping your foot into a sea of the finest down feathers, yet it's twice as strong as synthetic liners.
The natural materials provide complete waterproofing while allowing your feet to breathe. (Why they should purchase + specific benefits and the outcome they will receive – warmth, durability, unique).
We will be putting these rare boots on display October 15th. We wanted to give you an opportunity to purchase them before this happens. (The specific action you will take.) Since we only have three pair in your size, you will need to come in as soon as possible. Or call us with your credit card number and we'll put a pair back for you (The specific actions they must take.)
The price is just $399 for these elegant boots that will last a lifetime. No other boots that we're aware of provide such styling, warmth and durability. They come with a 30 day unconditional 100% satisfaction guarantee. "If you don't feel that they're the warmest, most comfortable winter boots that you've ever worn, simply return them to us for a 100% refund." In addition, they carry a five-year warranty against manufacture defects. (Risk aversion.)
As a special bonus, we will also offer you a 25% discount on any other footwear you buy at the same time. (Value added services/bonus.)
We look forward to seeing you soon.
The Foot Gallery
PS Julia Roberts is wearing a pair of these elegant boots on her trip to Switzerland. You can see them in the October issue of ABC Magazine.
This is powerfully targeted and highlights the importance of your customer database.
Incidentally, most people feel that it takes a special talent to write a good offer. As long as you include the key elements, and write to one customer at a time, your offer will be better than 95% of the so-called "copy writers" that don't know your clients or business like you do. If necessary, have someone edit the letter for grammar and punctuation if it makes you feel more comfortable.
Element #3 - Delivery or Communication Method.
If you're making the offer at the time of purchase, who will ask the client… you or your staff? Or will you mail the postcard? Or include the offer in your catalog? Or will you communicate by phone? Your program can and should encompass multiple delivery methods.
Element #5 - Follow Up
Most businesses tend to drastically under mail their clients. Conventional thinking is that you don't want to bother your clients. This is costly and erroneous information. The more you mail them, the more they will purchase and the more they will refer you because you're top of mind. You will know precisely how often is too often when the profits from your mailing are exceeded by the cost.
For example, a doctor may have a monthly health letter that reminds patients of the upcoming flu season. They can also send a newsletter that promotes "Preventative Health" actions such as cookbooks, vitamins, wellness classes and so on. Any time you can add value in your client mailings you will dramatically increase long term results.
Here are two critical distinctions about how often you should make the same offer.
The first distinction is the fact that your clients are made up of five types of buyers.
- The Innovators - they will buy anything that's new. When Apple's iPhone hit the stores, this group has to have one.
- The Early Adopters - they purchase once the price drops. When the iPhone hits $250 they will buy.
- The General Pack - they will buy when the item is proven and the price is reasonable. When they think the iPhone is needed because their current cell phone doesn't have all the gadgets or apps, they will pay $199.
- The Late Adopters - they will buy when the item everybody else seems to have is mass-produced and sells at discount stores. When they realize that they really must have a good cell phone to function in society they will buy one, but they will get the very minimum necessary and spend $100… or go with a similar phone.
- The Never Adopters - they will never buy regardless of price or needs.
You should continue to offer items to your customers even as newer or better items come available. If you can segment your buyers by past purchases, then you can target them specifically.
The second follow up consideration is that your customer's needs continually change. A client who doesn't take you up on your free manicure may love the person that currently does their nails. But if this manicurist moves in three months, their needs will change. If you don't continue to communicate your offer then they may end up going elsewhere.
The important thing to understand is that you should always take the time to educate the clients on the value of your products and service. You should always "plant a seed until there's a need".
Four opportunities to resell your customers after the initial purchase
Opportunity #1 - A day or two or some appropriate amount of time after the sale
Here the focus is twofold:
- To lay the ground work for a future sale and to remind them that you will be following up in 3-6 months for their next service or maintenance.
- To up-sell, cross-sell or lay the groundwork for future up-sell or cross-sell opportunities.
- The person that buys a computer may realize that it's too slow and will want more memory.
Opportunity #2 - Send a letter or call 30-60 days after the purchase to see if you can further meet your customers needs
This is your opportunity to once again try to expand their purchase patterns by introducing another related product or service. Or to condition them to purchase more often. Or to ask for a referral. Or to educate them on the need for an upgrade or maintenance service or additional training. After all, you have gone out of your way to identify their needs, meet these needs and then follow up to help in any way you can.
Additionally, you can invite them to a special function you have planned for your customers. Or tell them about special offers that only apply to preferred customers.
- You can also use this opportunity to lay the groundwork for a future purchase. For example, a landscaper may educate the customer on the "Top 10 Landscape Secrets for Protecting Your Investment." This may detail what to look for in a landscape maintenance company. This lays the groundwork for the future when the timing is more appropriate.
Even simply sending them your brochure or catalog will stimulate purchases because they may have been totally unaware of the other products and services that you provide.
Opportunity #3 - Periodic mailings or calls (every 4-6 weeks) to your clients
This is the hidden treasure that alone can double many businesses. In fact, it's so simplistically powerful that it can increase your revenue 20% or more immediately, if you don't currently do such follow up.
There are two reasons why this follow up will produce such profound results:
1) Customers need to be reminded about your services.
Jay Levinson says that 80% of the reason customers are lost is due to apathy. They simply forgot about you or felt you forgot about them.
Here is an example to illustrate the power of simply following up.
A couple has their windows cleaned twice a year. They had used seven different companies over 3 1/2 years. The last company they used was excellent. They had yet to find another company that was nearly as thorough. When they went to call this company, they couldn't find their card. The critical distinction here is that the customer would have benefited from this company following up and they would have hired them instantly. That company could have also expanded this customer's purchase pattern by offering to include a monthly "10 Minute Touch Up Service" for problem windows, gutter cleaning, cleaning the inside and outside of the window sills and so on.
By simply remaining top of mind when your customer thinks of the need for the product or services you offer will motivate them to purchase again.
2) Educate customers on trends, improvements, potential pitfalls and buying opportunities
You can send a newsletter, write a letter or have a point of purchase discussion. Focus on providing value to the customer.
- Sometimes you will try to get them to purchase additional products and services.
- Sometimes you will tell them about special sales, exclusive merchandise or limited offers you have available before release to the public.
- And sometimes you will simply be providing value and building your relationship.
A Realtor's expected resell cycle is five years, so they can't very well send monthly mailings trying to sell the customer. They can however, educate their customers about the recent sales activity. People love to know what their neighbor's house sold for. The Realtor can also provide tips on organizing their garage, growing a greener lawn, refinancing when appropriate and so on.
Opportunity #4 - Special Occasions
This includes birthdays, holidays, and their customer anniversary. These times represent a great opportunity to make special offers. You can send them a "buy one get one free" certificate or a special savings certificate good for a 25% discount on their birthday or customer anniversary. You can send them a letter to tell them about your special Christmas collection and let them know that you're giving your preferred customers a one-week advance opportunity to purchase before making the items available to the public.
Step 7 - Test Program
Test before you roll out your program. You may want to select a sub-group of the customers from those you have selected to target. In addition, you may want to get some feedback verbally before proceeding with your mailing.
Depending on the number of clients you have, to may want to test 10% or so initially to perfect the offer, script and delivery.
Step 8 - Teach your staff and validate
If your staff is communicating the offer either at the point of purchase, via phone or they're responsible for sending the letters, postcards or catalogs, you need to make sure they're following the guidelines you established in your test.
If you outsource the database management and mailings, you need to make sure you're on the list! This way you can validate the mailing and ensure the quality. You may also want to include a friend or family member as well.
Step 9 - Set-up measurements/tracking
It's critical that you measure what's working. Your plan includes several follow-up mailings and opportunities. Therefore, you need to monitor:
- The number of customers that receive the offer.
- The number that purchased and the amount they spent.
In addition, you want to determine what frequency of mailing produces the greatest results.
Step 10 - Reward/Incentives for staff
Once you have a benchmark for expected results, you can determine an incentive system for your employees if applicable.