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How Retaining Your Customers Can Bring In New Ones.

In this gadget driven world some of traditional ways of bringing in new business are still alive and well. However some are falling further and further out of favour. Cold calling people is becoming less and less effective, but getting your new and existing customers to give you referals is much better and these leads are warm. When you have a personal recommendation behind you that phone call is easier to make.

Then of course you need to be following up these leads in some way. As and when they need what you have you are fresh in their mind . Maybe a quick follow up complement slip with your photo and then next week a copy of a magazine article of something relevant to their business. This is all good stuff and is building up the relationship. You have trust because of the referral and you also are quietly staying on the radar as the ‘helpful’ guy.

Business owners forget that nurturing such relationships is something you should also be doing with your existing customers. That might sound expensive. Not if you segment your customer base and identify the right ones. Those customers that spend again and again. Most importantly of all here is to test the effectiveness of your relationship building or it is money down the drain. Do control testing, and create 2 groups and build a relationship with one and do the old stuff with the other. For those that are responsive it will ensure they are more likely to stay with you and not wander. Sending little conversational pieces in the post is good – not selling but helping, and hopefully you’ll be reminding they why they starting doing business with you in the beginning.

Relationship building works best if you can get face to face so do the “stuff in the post” process and then get them to see you. How? Simple. Put an event on. Remember only those customers that match your segment profile of “gold customers”.

Whilst a little bit cliche corporate golf days still work really well. Even if they are not gold players they often would be keen to give it ago. Give them custom golf gifts such as custom golf umbrellas with your logo or a logo that marks the event itself and this helps build the relationship. It can be smart to hire a specialist corporate golf event company to help you plan this.

But does the new online world give us any other options you can exploit along these lines. The success of social websites such as Linkedin.com comes from facilitating new relationship building between people in different networks. The social site granddaddy of them all is Facebook. No longer just for youngsters to swap pictures and videos it is a place to do business. Treat Facebook as a communication channel and encourage your customers to keep updated by joining your Facebook business page. Once your customers are connected to you you can slowly begin to increase the amount (up to a point) of and nature of communicating you do with them. For example when you are setting up the corporate golf event use the standard tools in facebook like the event planer to keep people posted.

What is good about this is your customer may learn to do what you do. Then they may promote their business in a similar fashion. Their customers will become part of their network and be exposed to your messages as well.

The cardinal rule is no selling in Social Media just helping. Don’t worry give enough help and the visitors to your corporate site will materialise.

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