Posts Tagged ‘discount’

For many of us – especially those in service businesses – our existing and previous customers are vital for three reasons: 1

For many of us – especially those in service businesses – our existing and previous customers are vital for three reasons:

1. They have already bought from us, so providing they had a good experience, they might buy from us again. We also know that getting a new customer is much more expensive than selling to an existing customer, so by continuing to sell to them, we are really saving ourselves some money.

2. They can give us invaluable feedback on how we did.  Was our service good enough? Did we delight them or were we ‘just ok’. Did our product meet their expectations? Was it good value for money? And so on.

3. They continue to save us money because they should be our major source of referrals and new business. So through them, we get access to new clients who already know about us and have a positive opinion of what we do.

Most clients I meet are not leveraging their existing customer database, and by not doing so, are losing out on a cost effective source of potential new business. Many receive referrals – for which they are grateful – but it’s not because they actively sought the referral, or had a strategy in place to ask for it.

Here are 8 ways to maximize the value from your most valuable asset:

Delight your Clients

Anyone with half a brain can satisfy a customer. But only when you continually delight customers will they keep coming back. You should aim to exceed your customers expectations on every interaction that they have with you. Do this consistently, and you will have a customer for life.

For example, you think your loyal client could benefit from reading a section of your ebook or an article you’ve written? Surprise them and make it a gift. Sure, you could say, “I’ll give you a fifty percent discount.” Forego the money. Give your client a reason to stick around and spend a thousand dollars instead.

Personalise, personalise, personalise

“We are entering an era where one size no longer fits all-or even a few. We are entering an era where one size fits one. It is highly personalized, customer-centric, customer-driven.” (From One Size Fits One: Building Relationships One Customer and One Employee at a Time).

Known variously as customer relationship management (CRM) and one-to-one marketing, personalisation is being practiced by businesses large and small across all sectors of the economy. The message here is simple: you want to lavish personal attention on customers who are going to reciprocate by being consistently good purchasers of your product or service.

Give these customers an incentive to share information about themselves that you can use when you contact them next. The more your customers feel as though you are treating them individually, the more likely they are to continue their relationship with you.

Provide Guarantees

A guarantee is a powerful tool for keeping your customers when they might otherwise go elsewhere. With a good guarantee, you tell your customers where and how to complain, and that complaining is worth their time and effort. It also shows that you care. A good guarantee is unconditional, easy to understand, meaningful, easy to invoke and easy to collect on.

Ask for Feedback

If you don’t know what your customer thinks about you, your business, your product and your services, then you might as well close shop.

People will endorse your business not because they think it looks good, but because they know it is good. If they have problems with your services, customers are the best source of objective advice on how to make improvements. So have a process in place where you regularly ask them for feedback. And once they’ve given it to you, let them know how you are going to use it. They will begin to feel involved in your business, and are more likely to send other people your way.

Reward them for being Loyal

Loyalty marketing programs are designed to engender loyalty and increase sales from your best customers. When properly designed and executed flawlessly, loyalty programs provide a vital link between your business and your customers, improving customer satisfaction and increasing sales. Here are some commonly used ideas for creating your own loyalty program:

  • preferable rates for loyal customers
  • provide bonus product or service if they have bought before
  • programs that promote multiple purchases (buy 3 and get the 4th free)
  • Points program – each purchase is worth points. When they amass a certain number of points they get a reward of some kind

Keep in Touch

Keeping in touch with your customers is about maintaining relationships. Customers are most likely to keep buying from you if you have a strong relationship – if they trust you and your product/service. Your keep in touch strategy should consider:

  • the best way to stay in contact (email, telephone, hardcopy newsletter etc)
  • frequency (monthly, quarterly event-based), and
  • what to talk about (what your company is doing, industry information, tips and hints, useful resources etc)
  • A Keep in Touch program is not the place for a hard sell. Keep it information based, concise and interesting

Implement a Referral process

Be very clear about who you want as a referral and why. The quality of referrals you receive depends on how well your customers understand what you are looking for. The best way to do this is to write it down for them, or discuss it in some detail – don’t assume they already know. At the conclusion of every sale, ask them if they know of any other people who would be interested in your service.

Thank them for referrals – every time

Finding a way to thank your customers for referrals lets them know that you value them for their efforts. It makes them feel recognized, and it reinforces the behaviour so they consider referring to you again. A thank you can be as simple as a hand written card, sent through the mail, to a set of movie tickets, a voucher, or even just a phone call.

There are so many ways that we can go one step further with the people who already buy from us. Make this a focus of your marketing efforts and you will soon see the rewards come back in the form of increased referrals and increased sales.

Lack of motivation must be one of the most used phrases by managers

Lack of Motivation must be one of the most used phrases by managers.  It is the root cause of everything from dirty toilets to bad service. If a guard dog sleeps on duty we say that it is overfed, underfed or old. We never say it is unmotivated. The reason is simple; you will look smarter if you blame the handler instead of the dog.

Whenever the big “M” word is mentioned focus always turns to the supervisee; lethargic, inexperience, lazy, unqualified – amongst a few. But are those labels fair? So called lethargy or laziness could be attributed to stress, bad working conditions, overwork, lack of support and sometime even lack of nutrition.

On the other hand, only operators and technicians have this kind of problem. Why in the world would a manager waste his energy on them?  He can always find ten to replace one anyway, right? Not exactly; because of something called the learning curve. If your equipments are not so new and had been modified a few times, the original manual on how to run these may no longer fully apply. Usually, the only available option is a veteran worker’s memory of his experiences with the machine.

Insubordinate staff? It may mean that you don’t deserve to be a leader to this person. People generally will only show respect to those they think superior to themselves. That means that if the best employees leave you, you will only be left with those more mediocre than yourself. The best salespeople love selling, the best procurers love getting discounts from vendors, the best secretaries love managing their bosses. These are the people whose physical and mental health rides on the market trend graph. Time spent in long-winded meetings is time lost in selling or in negotiating.

There is another element of human need that people forget about. It is human relationship. No worker expects to be treated as an equal to his manager on a work level. Yet it is the right of every human being to expect to be treated as an equal to his fellow man. You do not motivate a person by punishing and demeaning him (unless you are running a quarry with prison labor – some country still practice that I believe). You motivate him by appealing to his proactive side. Say something like “You did great last time.” or “We need you to help us do this.” If you use force, you are saying that you expect him to rebel and you will end up talking to his defensive side.

If you use a demerit system and punish your workers for every mistake, you will not only train them to lie to you, you also train them to form the habit of looking at the clock from the moment they start work. Lying is a defensive system and people become defensive in an environment they perceive as dangerous.

Just stop and think. Who in their honest, right mind would want to make a mistake?

Human errors are usually due to lack of training or stress. The best solution is to find out what happened and to create a workable system to prevent it in the future. Some people will say, “since you forgot to put on the label, next time you must sign on the label and find someone to confirm that the label is correct”. This kind of solution only works if there is a long waiting period for the operator. But if boxes are rushing pass him you will end up with more unlabeled boxes. So be practical, ask him if the new solution will work. [However, there is the rare individual who insists on high risk behavior because it is part of his nature. If you employ a person of such unsafe habits you will be considered liable for any injury on other employees caused by him].

Building an equal human to human relationship is not that difficult. The supervisor must at all times remain the boss on the work level, but he need not be boss at the personal level. If you’re new in town, ask them where you can drink the best local coffee or where they take their families for fun. Allow them to be your teacher and your life will be the richer for it. This will help the scales even out between you.

Your interest must be sincere. Insincerity shows, if not at that point, then at some other point. People have a habit of remembering exactly what you say to them, especially if you are the boss. The trick is to find a topic that you care about, so you remember your opinions concerning it.

Secondly, try to talk to your people as a group, that way you will not be accused of favoritism. You don’t even have to put aside a special time, just join them for lunch or coffee break. Still if an individual says “hi”, don’t scuttle away just because the rest of the group is not there. If you can create an open environment where you can discuss about life and work, you would have created a home away from home for your people. After all, home is a work environment too; cleaning, cooking, laundering and handling teenagers.

Remember to always follow acceptable social and legal etiquettes. When your subordinates talk about a movie, don’t recommend buying a pirated VCD, because you are still the boss and you don’t want to get into trouble. Protect your character and you will earn their respect.

Still experiencing problems? Learn more about the people and their values, then compare it to your actions. Is your work-skirt too short to be respectable? Do you dig your nose in front of your people? Do you treat one person with respect but another harshly? Do you use your people’s ideas without acknowledging their input? You get the drift.

Be ethical times are tough, and sales are more difficult to come by in many industries

1. Be ethical Times are tough, and sales are more difficult to come by in many industries. There are those who price gouge, or leave their customers high and dry at the first sign of complaint, and they get away with it, right?

The number one reason my web design company is thriving this year when so many are struggling is because of our customers. We call them to check in after a project is done, we give them discounts for purchasing our services in volume, and we’re on call for them 24/7 in case of emergencies. We treat them like family.

As a result, they continue to do business with us, and even refer new clients to us. Being ethical, even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard, always pays. Period.

2. Study, study, study Knowing your business inside and out gives you an edge over competitors that are just in it for a paycheck. It means faster turnaround times on jobs, which means lower expenses for you and lower prices for your customers, and lower prices mean higher demand.

3. Plan, plan, plan The longer I’ve been in business, the more I see the incredible time and money saving practice of planning. There’s an old saying: “Plan your work and work your plan.” Man, that’s the truth. My experience has been that one hour of planning saves me 10 hours of work. That’s not an exaggeration.

4. Schedule everything If it ain’t scheduled, it ain’t happenin’. There are plenty of sales guys, techs and marketing professionals who have no shortage of talent, but can’t keep a deadline to save their life. My observation has been that most of the time, it’s not because the person couldn’t meet the deadline; it’s just because a deadline wasn’t set at all.

5. Always have a next step When I first started in sales, I noticed that even though I was having some really great conversations with prospects, the relationship never seemed to go anywhere. Then I realized the problem: I was leaving conversations with no game plan for the future.

That’s just the start! Learn 5 more business lessons at the Aqua Vita Insider: 10 Things I Learned About Business This Year

Pre-paid legal services, inc

Pre-paid legal services, inc. is the most widely known company that offers legal expense plans. There are other company’s but Pre-paid legal services is the oldest. They have been in business since the early 70’s.

I was sold a prepaid legal membership two years ago by a friend. The way he explained the membership to me was that it was a life events legal plan. This meant that Pre-paid legal’s membership is designed to keep customers out of legal trouble before it gets too big. Prepaid legal offer’s a range of services from legal consultation, letters and phone calls on your behalf, contract and document reviews, wills, power of attorney’s, moving traffic violations, lawsuits, audit’s, and will’s.

When I got my membership I didn’t have a will and I was too afraid to try to fill it out myself without an attorney so that part of the membership was a plus. for more also liked the fact that I had help with speeding tickets. There are alot of speed traps in South Carolina where I reside so that part of the membership gave me peace of mind.

However, I think the most POWERFUL part of prepaid legals membership is legal consultation. For a measly $17.00 a month I have an entire law firm on retainer for legal advice. If I need to speak to a tax attorney, real estate attorney, family law attorney, criminal attorney, etc. I can talk with them without worrying about being billed.

I run a small business and need access to advice throughout the year. The business consultation I have received has saved me loads of time and money.

$17.00 x 12 months = $204.00 a year.

Is a Prepaid Legal membership a ripoff? That all depends on how you view your membership.

There are exclusions to prepaid’s memberships that will not give you FREE coverage for some of the most popular legal problems. “Divorce”, “Child Custody”, “Bankruptcy”, and “Drugs and Alchohol”. Customers can still get help they are just offered a discount of 25%. This is where you see the most complaints to a Pre-paid legal membership for visit are either oversold on how to use the membership or they believe they should have all their legal problems covered FREE of charge for $204.00 a year.

Friends, this is planet earth. This is not middle earth.

There is NO way a law firm can do everything for you for free.

To date my Pre-paid legal membership has saved me over $500.00 and in just two years of service. My attorney’s have also saved me time off my job for traffic violations and having to go to court.

In my opinion a Prepaid legal membership is not a ripoff, but then again this is coming from just one satisfied customer.

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