Most business schools don’t teach sales strategy for smaller businesses. Because of this, many small business owners don’t pay attention to sales or customer happiness and go out of business. So what should these business owners be doing? In short, they should be going back to basics, which means focusing on the customer.
History shows that businesses who focus on their customers are more successful. In fact, one study from Qualtrics found that businesses that utilize basic, customer-focused sales strategies perform up to 80 percent better than those that don’t. This was the approach Vinod Gupta used to successfully build his own company, Infofree.com, a top sales leads service that helps small businesses and sales people grow their sales. Below are three simple customer-focused actions any business owner can take to grow their business. Read on to learn more.
Focus on Existing and Lost Customers
There’s no point spending time, effort and money winning new customers only to lose present customers because you’re neglecting them. According to researchers from Washington University, loyalty programs help businesses to keep their customers and find long-term growth. Because of this, businesses should focus on building good relationships with all of their customers. While loyalty programs, customer rewards and the like can only do so much, the key to creating a loyal customer base is through building a personalized relationship with each group of customers.
Customers can be placed into three different groups: active, inactive and new. Each is different and because of this, each requires a different approach to capture, keep and create a profitable relationship with. The first step in understanding a customer base is through the process of profiling, which means categorizing potential and existing customers into their appropriate group. Typical points to be covered during profiling include who the customer is, their needs, business size, income and lifestyle. Once these have been identified, sorting each customer into their group should come naturally. Below are some short descriptions of customer groups and the ways they can best be looked after.
Active Customers: those who provide routine, repeat business and represent the majority of any business’s annual income. Because of this, these customers are best kept through a more thoughtful approach. For larger clients, this means VIP treatment, a dedicated sales and support agent, exclusive access to new products, twice-yearly dinners or other business-specific experiences. For medium customers, regular contact to discuss their experiences, any feedback they might have and offer support or workarounds. For smaller customers, regular communication to offer support goes a long way to ensuring they stay active.
Inactive Customers: those who were previously active but, for one reason or another, decided to leave. Because of this, small business owners must work to find out why they left, which means having a conversation. If their issue has been addressed, it’s likely they will become a customer once again. If not, the business has feedback they can use to improve.
New Customers: these customers are the growth engine of any small business. They are typically excited about the product or service and want to get the most out of it. Finding new customers can be a challenge. Services like InfoFree.com can help small business owners find new customers with their database of vetted leads.
Infofree.com Keeps Bringing New Customers In
The only way to business success is through continued growth, and that’s why it’s so important for businesses to keep bringing new customers through the doors. With many competing businesses in nearly every industry, creating a system that brings in these new customers is easier said than done. Because of this, the best starting point is in understanding the businesses’ current customer base, which should help business leaders understand the ways both people and other businesses have found success with their product or service, as well as their reason for selecting the business in the first place. From there, it’s only a matter of finding leads that line up with this understanding.
Infofree.com is a sales leads database which provides customized lists of vetted and viable sales leads based on the businesses’ ideal customer. Once the small business owner has found their leads, they can use any number of tactics to make first contact. For restaurants and similar businesses, this might mean a promotional flyer or post-card with a buy-one-get-one-free meal; for product-based businesses, like retail stores, this might mean a phone call or letter offering a demonstration; and for service-based business, like a cleaning company, this might mean a discount or free trial of the service.
Find Ways to Bring Back Inactive Customers
Although a steady flow of new customers is a sign a business has curb appeal, it’s only through talking with customers who have become inactive that business owners can understand the parts of their business or product which have room for improvement. Sometimes, these customer complaints may be minor and easily fixable, other times it may be more complicated to address the issue. One thing is for sure; talking with inactive customers shows them that the business is interested in them, their experience and in overall improvement. Ideally, this positive perception will lead to a number of inactive customers becoming active, as well as providing the business with opportunities to improve and eventually bring back even more inactive customers.
While many sales guides claim to provide all the tools for sales success for a price, the most effective approaches tend to be the simplest. By focusing on ways to keep new customers coming through the doors, taking the time to understand the existing customers, making an effort to speak with inactive customers and making sure all customers feel looked after, building an ever-growing and profitable business can be easy.