You’re probably thinking – Educate them about what?
Well, consider this, many businesses solely focus on attracting brand new customers, but you NEED to spend a good amount of your time retaining current and previous customers.
Here are a couple of crucial elements to use in order to keep your current customers:
- Stay in contact: Do this by whatever mediums you are able to. By phone, email,e-newsletter, in person, periscope, facebook messenger, eyejot, voxer, skype-even by pigeon if you have too!
- Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers.Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you bought a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
- Deals & Guarantees & Exclusive special offers: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you can. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a membership club specifically designed to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
- Integrity: Wow, this is a big one and I’m constantly shocked at what some business owners feel that they can get away with! Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty not only goes a long way with customers, but in my mind is obligatory. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and cr*p out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
- Quality product/service
- Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
- Offer subjects your customers find interesting and engaging
Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real, useful information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success as well as notoriety! You only need to look at all the social media platforms that you no doubt must be using at least one of, to see that interesting and educational posts do frequently get shared and in some cases go viral.
Stop using all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and divert some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”
“How do you get the majority of your business?” The answer to that question for 99% of the people I meet is: “Word of mouth” or “Referrals”
Well that’s great. You may well be getting most of your business via word of mouth and referrals. But that’s not really the critical question.
The question is – Are you getting the volume of business that you actually NEED in order to afford to buy your cat that expensive food it loves, the volume of business you need to pay for your next car service or perhaps even pay for your next mortgage payment.
Here is the truth about the statement “I get most of my business from referrals” – It’s just an EGO BOOST. You know it’s true. It makes you feel good that people recommend you. Don’t get me wrong, it IS good that people recommend you, but EGO BOOSTS don’t pay the bills.
Do you have an army of people actually promoting your product or service for you, at no cost to you? Do you actually have a pro-active referral system?
Have you put in place formal joint ventures with people with a similar target audience to yourself, but who don’t compete with you? Can you put an offer together that a complementary firm can send out along with their next
For example, let’s say you are real estate agent. Why not put together a campaign to identify all of the local reputable home remodellers/building contractors, and ask them to email to all of their current clients and past
clients, a free market valuation along with a free report on how to sell their home in 60 days or less using your tried and tested methods?
Or perhaps you are a business consultant. How about getting in touch with business brokers, to offer their sellers and indeed their buyers, a free business plan session with you?
Or perhaps you are a guitar teacher. Get in touch with local music shops to have them offer their customers a free 30 minute lesson with every set of strings they sell?
Maybe you run your own Virtual Assistant business. Have you partnered with a business or marketing coach, to offer their customers an exclusive deal for one of your market dominating services in return for you sending a
message to your database an offer from the coach to offer your clients a free marketing audit?
Look you can’t afford to wait for referrals to happen. You have to MAKE them happen, and sell THROUGH people strategically, not accidentally. Look at the above examples – and inverse and/or reciprocal arrangement is also possible – e.g. A music shop offering guitar teachers the opportunity for students to get an exclusive 20% discount off of strings. (The idea here is not to sell guitar strings, it’s to get a new customer through the door and profit from the LIFETIME value of that student. They’ll soon want to upgrade their guitar, or even have it repaired and may become a customer of yours for YEARS to come)
Home remodellers can offer real estate agents to pass on to all of their clients a 10% discount on some work.
Don’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring – build strategic JVs to get your phone ringing for you. (We have a 30 minute instructional video on this one strategy in our E-Learning marketing system www.ecobusinessacademy.com/myguidedtour)
If you can’t quite envision how exactly this strategy will work for your business just get in touch with us, and we’ll give you some ideas….
I have recently been part of a conversation on LinkedIn, where we were talking about offering guarantees. E-Learning Marketing system members receive, amongst other things, a series of 52 weekly e-classes covering different marketing tactics. I have decided to post E-Class #27, which covers how to offer strong guarantees to convert prospects to paying customers, free of charge in this here blog. Enjoy! Jason
E-Class #27: How to Offer a Strong Guarantee
Risk reversal increases buyer confidence and encourages completed transactions.
A lot of the businesses I work with don’t have a risk reversal strategy, and aren’t really familiar with what one looks like, or the power it could have over their conversion rates.
Each time a customer completes a transaction, they leave your store or website with 99% of the risk associated with the purchase. Even if you overcame all of their objections and answered their questions about the performance of the product, the moment they hand over the money they lose their leverage.
If the product doesn’t do what you say it will, or if it breaks down, your customer has parted with their cash and hasn’t received the promised results. They’ve lost – or wasted – money.
So, risk reversal simply means taking the purchase risk away from the customer, and taking it on yourself or your business. When your business allows customers to make purchases without fear or doubt, you will encourage them to make decisions, spend money and complete sales because there is less at stake.
And whenever you can encourage more customers to buy from you, you will boost your conversion rate and your average number of transactions. So, offering a strong guarantee is a strategy that will increase conversions as well as repeat business.
In this E-Class we will cover:
- The relationship between risk reversal and conversions
- How to use guarantees in your business
- How to handle returns and claims
- A step-by-step process for creating guarantees
A strong guarantee will reverse purchase risk and increase your conversion rates.
Essentially, guarantees take qualified leads and quickly convert them into repeat customers. When you guarantee what you sell, you take away the purchase risk from your customer and assume it yourself. When the purchase risk is taken away from the customer, they are more likely to agree to make purchases and you will close more sales.
People don’t like to be wrong, or feel that they have been misled. They want to be sure that they made the best decision when they purchase a refrigerator or a new pair of shoes. They want the products and services they buy to actually deliver the results and benefits advertising. They are afraid of making the wrong choice when they spend their money.
When you provide a guarantee, you break down these natural barriers in the sales process, and the fear inherent in making large purchases. Guarantees usually shorten the sales process altogether because there is less need for discussion about objections. The customer feels that they can try the product out, risk free.
The best guarantees are big and attention grabbing, but still realistic. Like this one:
They’re bigger and better than the competition, but still something you can actually stand behind. They tell your customer that you have confidence in your product, and that you “must be good at what you do” or you wouldn’t guarantee it.
Guarantees and hassle-free return policies are also becoming the norm amongst many retail businesses and even service providers. There is a growing consumer expectation for returns policies that default to the opinion or experience of the customer. A guarantee or easy return policy can be the difference between choosing one business over its competition.
But aren’t you worried about unhappy customers? Won’t you see a pile of returns and service claims?
When I suggest implementing a risk reversal strategy to my clients, most of them are a little concerned. Most of them say something like, “sure, I’ll increase sales with a strong guarantee, but won’t the increase in returns and service claims put me out of business?”
This is a valid concern. Of course there are going to be customers who come back to you unhappy, or who want to take you up on your promise or guarantee. When you offer your customers a strong guarantee, you need to make sure that you stand behind what you are selling and believe in the benefits or results you’re promising.
Don’t guarantee anything you don’t believe you can deliver.
Before you even think about guaranteeing results or benefits, you need to make sure that you stand behind what you sell 100%. You need to believe that your offering is a quality product or genuine service that is of value to your target market.
If you’re concerned about the quality of your products or the service you provide, consider making improvements internally before you promise anything to anyone. If you employ staff who perform a service, make sure they’re qualified and skilled at what they do. If you sell merchandise, put stronger quality controls in place, or consider buying from other vendors.
The reality is that you will get returns. Some customers will come in to scam or to take advantage of you, and I’ll show you how to create a system to handle this. However, the point of offering a guarantee is to increase conversion rates (and revenue), so as long as the increase in sales is greater than the cost of the returns and claims, the strategy is working.
The majority of your customers would never take advantage of your guarantee.
The second important point I want to make is that most customers are too lazy or afraid of confrontation to take you up on your guarantee – regardless of how satisfied they truly are.
Your customers are too lazy to return to your store or send back the item they purchased. The same goes for services. Most let the specified time period go by, and simply forget about your promise. You may have even done this yourself.
Also, the level of confrontation involved in returns and service claims is usually more hassle than the customer is willing to deal with. Telling someone that you don’t like their product or service can be challenging, and many don’t have the confidence to do this.
So, once you’re ready to stand behind what you offer, work through my easy, step-by-step process for creating your guarantee.
1. Decide what you are going to guarantee, and what you will offer customers if the product or service doesn’t deliver.
Based on your knowledge of your target market, brainstorm a list of things that they look for or value in your products and services. Then, brainstorm a list of things that may frustrate them about the purchase experience in general. Perhaps they hate it when contractors show up late, or when take-out takes forever to arrive. Or, maybe it irritates them when they open a product package and items are missing or broken.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when brainstorming for your guarantee:
- What does your target market value most about your product or service?
- What frustrates your target market about your industry, or product line?
- What objections do potential customers raise most often?
- What is the level of risk that your customers take on in a purchase?
- How much time do customers need to truly evaluate the product or service?
Guarantee results, not features or benefits.
As I’ve discussed in earlier E-Classes, people buy results, not products or services. You buy younger-looking skin, not a spa facial. You buy a fresh-cut lawn, not a built-in lawn sprinkler system. Therefore, the strongest guarantees are made on results not features or benefits.
Take the items in your brainstormed list and identify a number of things that you can guarantee won’t happen or will happen. Don’t be afraid to think big – you can promise a lot more than you think. Once you have chosen a few things you can guarantee, make sure you:
- Get detailed. Be clear about what you are guaranteeing, and phrase your promises carefully. Different words mean different things to different people, so ensure you are claiming something measurable. Two customers may have different ideas of what makes a product “work” or “last a long time.”
- Get specific about timeframes. Give customers a realistic amount of time to experience the product or service – very few companies can guarantee any product or service forever. Usually 30-days to 90-days is an adequate timeframe, depending on the purchase. This gives customers a deadline, and protects your business.
- Are bold, yet realistic. Don’t be afraid to get a little unbelievable you’re your guarantee – it will grab your customers’ attention and may make you stand out above the competition. Just be sure to be realistic and make promises you can deliver on.
- Clearly explain compensation. If the product or service doesn’t do what you say it will, what will the customer get, or how will you resolve the situation? Make this a big part of the guarantee, be specific about money, and try to go above and beyond a simple money-back refund.
Here are some examples of strong guarantees:
- All of our products are guaranteed to make you feel stronger and healthier in seven days, or double your money back – no questions asked.
- Our services are guaranteed to be the lowest in the region. Find a lower price, and we’ll beat it by 20%.
- You’ll be completely thrilled with your haircut and color treatment, or we’ll make it right, right away, at no extra cost to you.
- Buy any product in the store and test it out for 30 days. If for any reason – or no reason at all – you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a full refund.
- We guarantee you won’t find a lower price in town – or we’ll pay you double the difference.
- If you find any defect in our installation within 90 days, we will fix it within a single business day at no extra charge, guaranteed.
2. Tell your customers about your guarantee.
Just like you did with your marketing message and your powerful offer, put your guarantee in places where your customer will read about it.
Include guarantees in your advertising, on your website, on receipt tape, in-store signage and newsletters. There are also many small ways to place visual reminders of your guarantee around your business. For example, put a small sticker that says “results guaranteed” on your merchandise or price tags, and modify all in store signage to mention your promise.
You can also send a newsletter or email to your database of existing clients to let them know about the new guarantees. You may encourage past customers to return, and single-transaction customers to become lifetime customers.
3. Train your staff on the details of the guarantee.
Script the details of your guarantee as part of the sales process to give your staff an easy guide to follow. Be clear on what is guaranteed, what the guarantee covers, and the process for claiming the guarantee in the unlikely case the customer needs to. If you decide to offer different guarantees for different products or services, make sure those differences are made clear.
In most cases, your employees will be the ones on the sales floor, using the guarantee to boost their sales targets. It’s easy for a staff member to make broad or false claims during the sales process to earn the sale, but it may result in an increased number of unhappy customers coming back to return the item.
Clear, in-store signage that promotes and describes the details of your guarantee can be a helpful tool for both customers and staff. It will act as a visual reminder of the guarantee, prevent staff from making false claims, and allow customers to read the ‘fine print’ if they have detailed questions.
4. Have a plan for returns and claims
Create a system to handle any returns or claims you may receive as a result of your guarantee. Ensure your staff is trained to deal with upset customers, and that you gather as much information as possible from unsatisfied clients.
Create a standard claim form.
Have every customer who makes a claim or returns a product fill out a standard form with contact information and details about the purchase experience. This will prevent return fraud and help you collect valuable information about your products or services, and about your guarantee.
- Contact Information
- Reason for claim
Create a claims log.
Use a filing system or log for all claims and returns. Organize claim forms by date so you can review them on a regular basis and identify any patterns or issues that need your attention. You may need to make your guarantee more specific, or address any performance issues with the manufacturer or service provider. Claims should also be noted in each customer’s file.
Go ahead and guarantee the products and services you offer, and show your customers that you stand behind your claims.
Big, bold guarantees generate the best results, but if you’re hesitant, test the waters with something you’re comfortable with. Perhaps start by guaranteeing a new product or service instead of including a guarantee with everything you offer.
Remember to have a system in place to test and measure the conversion rate on your guarantees, as well as a claims system to monitor returns. If a particular product or service is seeing a high number of claims, you may need to modify your guarantee.
If you have not already requested your free series of videos that show you how to use three specific marketing tactics to bring in more leads and prospects into your business, without spending a cent on marketing PLUS our “3 biggest lead generation mistakes that small business owners make, and how to overcome them all” video that shows the specific formula ALL of your marketing must follow in order to be effective, then simply go here: https://www.ecobusinessacademy.com/leadgenerationmistakes
(I wrote this article for my friends at www.reconnectafrica.com – this article is reprinted here with kind permission)
When I work with young businesses I can’t help but think of my first training in customer service and sales.
I’m always amazed by how much easy low hanging business is lost by business owners skipping a simple that can and should be implemented every single day, and it costs nothing.
One of my first jobs was working as a waiter for a world-renowned Pizza restaurant chain. We were trained to follow a very set and proven procedure to ensure the very best customer experience. We were taught to greet customers within 30 seconds of them walking through the front door, seat them within two minutes, take their drinks and garlic bread order within five minutes, serve their drinks within seven minutes, serve their garlic bread within eight minutes and so on. But two of the most important money making rules that we had to follow was to ensure that 1) we made regular eye contact with our customers every time we walked through the restaurant, and 2) regularly asked our customers if they wanted their drinks topping up.
Have you ever been in a restaurant where you were frantically waving and calling the waiter to come by just so that you could order another drink or order some more bread or just simply asking for your bill? Frustrating right? I remember a recent situation when I was in a restaurant where it took me 15 minutes to get the attention of a waiter just so that I could order a drink. By the time I managed to get his attention, it was too late and I had to leave. So not only was I frustrated and thirsty, but the restaurant lost out on additional EASY business too.
What steps can you implement in your business that would equate to keeping eye contact with your customers? How many courtesy calls can you make this week just to see how they are getting on with your product or service? It takes little time and no money at all to do this yet the implication on your business is profound.
Following up regularly creates goodwill from your customer because you show that you care, and during that conversation you have the opportunity to offer additional products or services to your customer. Even if they’re not in a purchase mindset at that time they may know somebody that they want to recommend to you.
This is called the power of the follow up. This is is the number one easiest way to create additional income for your business, yet 95% of businesses don’t seem to have any kind of follow-up system in place.
The question I then get asked on this subject is how much follow-up is too much follow-up? The answer to that is…there is no such thing as too much follow-up. That doesn’t mean that you call your customer every three minutes, however calling them once or twice a week until you get hold of them is perfectly acceptable. If they are an existing customer of course, you will already have trust built up with them. If your follow-up becomes too much, you can trust that your prospect or customer will tell you to stop calling them. No harm done.
Studies have shown on average you need to follow up at least seven times before a customer or prospect places an order with you so it is a fatal business mistake to give up after the first telephone call. Think of my example of the restaurant. Have you ever been in a restaurant when the waiter came round two or three times asking you if you want some more drinks, but each time you say no because you are not thirsty, but then on the fourth time you say yes?
You see the waiter doesn’t know when you’re going to be ready to order more drinks but he keeps checking in with you until he hits a time that you are thirsty. This is no different to any other business. You need to keep contacting your customers and not only that, the customers actually expect you to do this.
A trap that many businesses get into is getting frustrated about business slowing down and constantly try to find new customers. The question I always ask is have you served your existing customers to the maximum? The answer is almost always “no, I have some other service or product that some of my customers have not bought from me yet”. If you already have existing loyal customers make it your priority on Monday morning to select five customers at random and give them a call to follow up and see how they’re doing.
Existing customers are also a great source of information if you’re developing a new product or service. Why not ask the opinion of your existing clients about the new service you’re rolling out and what they think about it and the price you are offering it at? Since they know you well and there is trust built up between you, you should hopefully get a good honest answer and be able to tweak your offering to maximise the chances of success.
It is always easier to get more business from existing customers, than getting new business from new customers. So take a look at your last year’s order book, and see who you can call or meet up for a coffee. Plan your follow up, get your diary out and actually write in the diary who you are going to call and when.
We hope you found this article useful, but remember it’s not the acquisition of knowledge that will generate you money, but the application of it. So if you found this article useful, then put it to Full Use, by grabbing your address book and diary, and get scheduling those follow up calls. I use a really simple to use piece of follow up software to ensure I keep on top of my follow up list. It’s so good in fact that we have partnered up with the company that provides the technology, and I am due to run a webinar with them where I will be demonstrating some simple follow up techniques, and how to use their technology to help keep up. Check them out: Contactually . It takes literally minutes to set up, and systemises all of your follow up integrating all of your email accounts, twitter, facebook and linkedin in one place – it’s truly unique I promise you.
Dedicated to your success!
P.S. Have you applied for your $5,000 educational grant for use towards coaching services? We have five grants available to be applied for every month. There are no fees to apply, autorenews and it never has to be repaid. Get yours here
P.P.S. Are you registered to attend our weekly Ask The Expert call, where you get to speak with me or one of my coaches, asking any questions you like on lead generation, converting customers, marketing strategies and any other challenges your business is facing?
ATTENTION: Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Thinking about starting your own business?
Fact: If you don’t have a cast iron marketing system in place to generate new leads, your business will FAIL!
The number one issue that start-up business owners I speak to, complain about is their frustration that their phone isn’t ringing; that no-one is emailing them requesting information about their goods or services; and that if things don’t change pretty soon, they are going to start scouring the job boards again to get a PAYE position all over again, in the industry that barely needs people as it is.
There are two things that absolutely have to be in place for their business to be in place, and that is:
Of those two, the absolute #1, most important, is marketing. But here’s the problem.
Everything Small business owners have been told about marketing their business….is WRONG!
And that’s if they know anything about marketing in the first place!
Did you know that 96% of all start-up businesses are gone in 5 years. The reason? They fail to seek out professional help as they get started, and indeed throughout their business life cycle.
Business coaches like us, help YOU do it right from the very beginning.
From learning the right way to market your business….to helping you generate immediate cash flow, we provide the professional guidance and direction you need to instantly become a dominant player in your chosen industry.
And to ensure your success, we’ll provide you with all the training, resources, strategies and tactics you need to generate all the leads and new customers your business can handle.
We’ll help you create a Profit River for your business.
FREE VIDEO REPORT
The Three Biggest Lead Generation Mistakes People Make When Starting a Business. . . and How to Overcome them All
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