co-authored by Theodora Kimmel
What can you do for your customers to leave such a powerfully positive impact that when they later recommend you to someone, they feel good doing it?
If you have an answer, then you have the strongest sales force possible: the satisfied customer who wants everyone to know just how satisfied he or she is.
So, how do you go about developing the kind of relationship that will turn your customers into your sales force?
Keep your customers on your radar, even when they are no longer your customers. Send them anniversary cards, holiday cards, birthday cards, and most importantly, keep in touch. Keep them on your radar and they will keep you on theirs.
Show your customers you genuinely care by getting to know them. How else are you going to know when to send them their birthday cards, as an example, if you don’t actually know when their birthday is? Getting to know them makes them feel like they know something about you (you’re friendly, genuine and personable), and that gives them something to share with others about you.
Connect with the mutual desire to prosper business-wise that you share with your customers. Find out what your customers do for a living and then recommend them to others. The desire to thrive financially is a naturally shared interest and builds real rapport. This is just like how you might do with other wedding vendors.
Go beyond the milestone that is the wedding and see them for other aspects of their lives; engage with your customers about the ups and downs of life. If a customer mentioned that a family member was ill, or they were ill, keep in touch with them and check in. Investing into the personally important matters of your customers connects you to them holistically, which means it feels natural for them to share your business with others.
Find out what interests your customers beyond the services and/or products you provide, and make a mental note. When you notice something like an article or a video clip that matches their interests, send it their way. Knowing what other interests your customers have can reveal a natural, easy way to connect and authentically inspire them to converse with you and about you.
How can you do this? (Don’t worry, it doesn’t require so many phones.) Combine these two core components:
Fear not the potential for your customers to be dissatisfied. If a problem arises, resolve it heroically. This can create one of the most enduringly positive impacts. How you handle a crisis or frustration is even more of a reflection of your business than an effortless sale. Studies show people are more likely to remember negative events than positive ones, so use this to your advantage. Customers will remember how considerately you handled even the worst of their potential situations, and that in and of itself speaks volumes. By embracing dissatisfaction, it is an opportunity to show how much you care about your customers.
Invite customers to share their experience with you by asking for real testimonials. Success in the wedding industry is so often built on what your previous customers have to say about you. It would be a disservice to you (and to future potential customers) to not take advantage of the honest evaluations of your past customers. Make it simple for them to put reviews up on sites like Yelp, Yahoo, and Google. When people search for something related to your wedding business, viola, with these testimonials locked, stocked, and loaded, your past customers are already doing the talking for you: your sales marketing has been elegantly sealed.