When you’re a business owner, you never know when the next opportunity will present itself. Whether you’re a contractor, photographer or a real estate agent your livelihood depends on those opportunities, so you need to be familiar with every tool & tactic out there.
I’m a small business owner.
Most of my friends are small business owners as well.
I guess it’s something in the water. :)
No idea how this happened.
We talk a lot about how to increase our revenues, how to develop customers, how to improve the business relationship with our customers a little better. I hope you realize, this little better is the cream of the revenue.
It’s the unexpected referral that came effortlessly and presented itself… like a bag of cash waiting to be picked up. Or that surprisingly easy project, for one of your existing customers, that went so well it covered for 5 other projects…
So I decided to dig a little further, out of the comfortable reach of my close network, and started asking my customers, colleagues, even strangers I met for the first time.. I came off as a weirdo, but I learned a lot about this subject.
So here it is, the list of small details that made my life much easier, helped my customers remember me, and eventually, increased my revenues. (please feel free to comment below, add your ideas, contact me directly etc. )
Say it Loud
I will always keep my brand as visible as possible (post your logo on your car, get branded pens, t-shirts, hats, etc.). Keep visibility in mind at all times, when you park your car, when you print an invoice, when you leave a business card to customer. The more visible you are, the more customers will reach out to you.
Carry your Business Card
Always carry a business card with you! Keep extra ones in your wallet and your car. It’s not just about having the card with you at all times, make sure that all your loyal customers have more then one to hand out to their network. When you complete a job, try to leave more then one at a strategic place.
Keep the Pitch strong
Prepare a short sentence that describes what your company does best and use it whenever asked about your business. Help people become your ambassadors by providing them with the right words to describe your business. You can ask your friends how they describe your business in one sentence. Keep in mind, less is more. Make sure it’s very short and your best qualities are mentioned.
Ask for Feedback
When completing a job, always ask for feedback. ( face to face is best, online is even better ) You will not believe how much you will learn from those short sessions. After receiving feedback it’s the best time to ask for the next tip. Having a mechanism in place to make sure you collect reviews on review sites is highly recommended!
Ask for referrals
Ask your loyal customers for referrals! (don’t be shy)
This is a win-win situation; your customers will happily do it, and you can reward them in many ways (we can discuss those in a different post).
Get it into your system, asking for referrals. It will help you much more then any money spent on advertising or buying leads.
- Carry little branded giveaways with you at all times and generously hand them out to customers. Pens, hats, stickers, magnets, toys, key holder etc.
- Always be polite, remember that you are a one-man customer-support and sales department. You need to behave accordingly.
- Network with colleagues and other professionals. You never know who your next referral will arrive from. Go to events, talk to your customers and other suppliers. Get to know the leaders of your industry and study them.
- Talk and listen to your customers. You’ll be surprised of how much they will be willing to help once a closer relationship has been forged.
This is a universal truth, being receptive and open will help you tremendously with your customer relationship.
Act upon those little notes. Make sure they are handy and available for you in real time.
- Send out personal branded emails to your network, with every special event on their calendar. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I’m sure that a little reminder at the right time, is exactly what is needed in order to get to this little extra cream in the revenues I was referring to.
- Last but most importantly (and I’m sure that you know that already…): ALWAYS do the best work you can. If you deliver great results on time, your customer base will grow, people will recommend your brand to their friends and you’ll be swamped with work.
Well, reading this you might say, this guy is a full of xxxx, this doesn’t work in real life. One person cannot do it all.
Then I have to remind you that you do much more then that and much more everyday. Being a business owner is like juggling 8 balls at once, there is always pressure and time management is extremely difficult.
And you already manage to do all of that. It’s that little addition that makes the difference.
So how can you do that? Well, you can hire a secretary, or a personal assistant. You can find out about different services that can help you.
Or you can just start one by one. Accomplish one and move to the next. It doesn’t have to be in that order, but you do have to start somewhere. Maybe in someone else’s list… but do begin today.
What do you feel are the main takeaways to growing your customer base?
Join the discussion by leaving a comment below and please spread the word by sharing this post with your friends.