The difference between a single sale and repeat business is “ongoing contact”. This involves a planned program of “follow-up notices” which include:
#1) Thank You Notes
#2) Brief Letters
#4) Post Cards These items can be sent by mail or even via e-mail.
The follow-up should offer the customer more information and keep your company name fresh in her mind.
Here are some methods for forging a lasting relationship:
Follow-up a product sale with a thank-you note immediately after the service is provided. The thank you card note could offer carpet care tips. You can also introduce the idea of requesting a “referral” at this time. When I used to clean residential carpeting here’s what I sent along with my thank-you note:
Turn This Into A Real $20 Bill
Since 1982, our clients have been so thoroughly pleased with our service that they’ve felt compelled to tell others about their experiences. We truly appreciate the referrals that we receive from our satisfied clients. So, whenever our clients refer a new customer to us, we reward them with $20. As a gesture of our appreciation, we will send you $20 for each new customer that you refer to us, who books a job of $100 or more. We kindly thank you for your support.
You might also consider publishing a bi-monthly or quarterly tip sheet or newsletter and mail it or e-mail it to your previous customers. If it contains more useful information than obvious advertising, your correspondents will appreciate it.
Another obvious follow-up contact is the service reminder post-card. I say “obvious” but this is often times overlooked by cleaners who I have talked to. A simple database is all that is needed to generate a reminder of when the next cleaning is due to be performed.
Plan your follow-up campaign before you begin your marketing attack and record your orders or contacts by date. Track the person’s last contact date, name and address; the status of your relationship and the nature of the contact (for example, “sent second follow-up letter.”) Each week, select the contact whose dates are appropriate for followup and then do a quick mailing. Using off the shelf software like Act!, Maximizer or Goldmine can help you with this task.
The follow-up is where the relationship is forged. If you fail to keep your name in front of the client they will find it hard to recall your company when it’s time to have their carpets cleaned next time; even if they were thrilled with your service.
In conclusion, my suggestion is to “gently” keep your name in your clients mind or else your competition forcefully will.
Copyright 2003 Rick Gelinas. All rights reserved.
Used here by permission of Rick Gelinas.