This may seem harsh, but if you do not take the time to build and maintain relationships with your customers your direct mail, emails, brochures, and that voicemail you left at 4pm on Friday is all headed for file zero or the delete button.
All your customers care about is WIIFM or What’s in it for me? They want their problems solved. You and your staff must use solution oriented thinking to engage them and you should call sometimes just to say Hi. So what is solution oriented thinking? Read up on your customers. Study the trends in their industry. Anticipate their challenges ahead of time. Call and ask them what their biggest challenges are currently.
The other thing your email marketers need to learn is that your list loses its effectiveness by 10% every month. So any prospects on your list that have not bought from you in over a year, should be purged from your list.
The same rule applies to your employees will not care about your business either, if you do not engage them in major decisions and take care of their needs. Remember, it’s all about your employees and your customers and never about you. A key ingredient to being a successful business owner is being selfless. Make it a point to acknowledge little things. I like to make a big deal out of my employee’s birthdays. I cater lunch and buy a cake for everyone. My team is under 12 people, so this is not a big deal, but you get my point.
So how do you keep your small business relevant to your customers?
- Always position your business as a helpful resource. Instead of sending cards at holiday time, subscribe your clients to a helpful magazine. I have used Pink Magazine, Success Magazine and Black Enterprise for this in the past.
- Give away valuable information for free through white papers, blogs, and webinars.
- Offer to brainstorm (for free) with clients about a challenge to get helpful insights to bid on potential upcoming projects.
- Create a “Clients in the News” section on your website to brag about what your customers are accomplishing.
- Meet with key staff twice a year about their future career goals. Look for ways to support them, so they are not planning their exit on your dime.
Remember: When you invest your time and resources in your clients and employees the investment always pays off down the road.
Action: List three strategies you will implement this month to ensure your business is relevant to your customers or you are engaging your employees.