Why do I need to keep in contact with my customers?
Building and maintaining relationships with your current customers is often an overlooked strategy to generate sales for your business. Yes, thats right - relationship management with your customers can directly increase your sales figures. Plus, working with your existing customers can be more cost effective. You can directly influence your customers - by making them feel appreciated.
Not staying in touch means taking your customers for granted. Inevitably it means letting someone else’s message trump your own. Without nurturing your relationships, you will lose customers.
How should I reach out to my customers?
- Letters & Direct Mail
- Emails & Specialty Offers
- Phone calls
- In person visits
Keeping in touch with your clients using these methods, especially right before buying seasons will put your business at the top of the customers' mind. But sometimes reaching out isn’t enough. Sometimes your customer is looking for greater value from your company, but maybe they just don't realize it yet. Keep buyers informed about new product offerings - new models for the current year. Product improvements. Things that can help your customers address their own pain points. You never know what a customer could have a use for. Consider this companion selling.
Additionally, you can include new service offerings in your communications. Landscapers bring their equipment to where they believe they'll get the best service. Perhaps more important than service discounts would be pre-season parts discounts, with the discount often based on the size of the order. Some more progressive dealers will send their customers a spreadsheet of what they ordered the previous year and an actual order form of fast moving parts such as blades, filters, belts, etc.
Mostly, remind your customers that as their dealer you are there to help THEM. Whichever you decide to do, your value as a dealer needs to be declared.
I hear you asking, what should I start with?
Send a personalized letter or postcard to ALL of your customers at the beginning of the season. No sales pitching here. Just let them know you are grateful for their business.
Call or visit your most valuable accounts. Ever heard of the 80-20 rule? 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. Who brings in most of your business, and which customers would be the hardest to lose? Target them and go out of your way to make them feel appreciated.
Remember to collect email addresses! Email is the cheapest way to keep in contact with your customers. Train your staff to gather addresses at each point of sale. This provides a complimentary communication channel to direct mail and phone calls. Give yourself a three-pronged approach to increase your companies exposure.
Many dealers still rely on the customer walking through the door to create a relationship. How many times has a person come to your store been a worker, foreman, or crew chief, instead of the owner of the business? Or even in the case of the proprietor, does he know the value you are bringing to his landscape business?
How to segment customers
Try using your customer list for sales prospecting. Who are the customers that only buy 2-cycle items from you? Would you like to get a share of their mower business too? Why are they buying their mowers and supporting parts elsewhere? Just because someone is a customer of yours doesn't mean you currently get 100% of their purchases.
The other group of customers to focus on – what we'll call your "Top Loyal" buyers. Look at the list of customers, and pick out the top 20 who buy 75% of their equipment or more from you. These clients are a rough estimate, but you should know the guys who are buying their products from 2-3 dealers vs. those who are loyal to your business.
Just remember, every action you take as a company affects your reputation. Reputation in turn is a direct reflection of someone's desire to do business with you. Prove your worth, make customers feel valued, and promote to the appropriate audiences. If your dealership needs support from experienced outdoor power equipment industry experts, KPM is here to help. Find out more by clicking the button below: