There is an old saying, “if you build it, they will come”. While this sounds pretty awesome and might make for a great hashtag, it simply isn’t the truth. Attracting new customers can actually be a very time consuming, expensive task that only really counts if you manage to retain new clients once you get them in the door.
So what is the secret sauce for converting a one time, coupon, or Groupon wielding “visitor” into a tried and true “regular” at your establishment? I am so glad you asked! Here are four secrets to get you started…
Secret #1 – Be ready when they come!
With the holiday season having just passed, and the new year in full swing, many new faces will likely be gracing your threshold with gift cards they have received, giving you an opportunity to shine bright. However, many times we aren’t “ready” for that new client, even when we are actively advertising for them. Things like outdated signage, employees who aren’t well-versed on specials, products, or services and even outdated or out of service systems or equipment can give off a bad vibe to someone checking out your place.
Think of a new customer like a special dinner guest. You (hopefully!) clean the house, pull out the “good china”, and wear something a bit more presentable than your PJ’s when they are coming. When people are treated special, they feel special. Creating an amazing first impression will keep them coming back for more!
Secret #2 – Don’t just talk, but do!
When it comes to services offered, a huge mistake that many businesses make is too much talking and not enough doing. What do I mean by this? No one likes a pushy salesperson who immediately tries to upsell them 14 things and a 5 year membership before they even have a chance to get their coat off. If you have an amazing business, which I know you do, let what you do and how you do it speak volumes for you. Giving them a tour is fantastic. Handing out a brochure featuring the services you offer is fine. But don’t forget to also let them enjoy their visit as well.
If they feel comfortable, welcomed, pampered, and relaxed when they leave, it will speak significantly louder than any sales pitch could. Retain new clients by simply showing them the value in what you do.
Secret #3 – Build a relationship!
Have you ever gone to a new place and felt like a bit of an outsider because everyone seemed to know each other and you were the odd man out? While some people feel this way more so than others, a new client will have the greatest potential to be in this awkward category. Use this as an opportunity to break the ice, and bring them into the club…your club. Ask about why they came in, and what they did over the holiday season. Chat about the weather or tell them about yourself. Smile, laugh, and compliment them. Show a genuine interest in who they are and how you and your business can be of service to them. Building a relationship takes time, but if you lay a foundation from the very first visit, it can make tremendous impact and help you retain new clients.
Secret #4 – Always follow up!
Whether you got great vibes from that new face, or totally felt like they were a one hit wonder, take the time to always follow up anyway. Many times people are busy and have good intentions to make another appointment or call back later for more info on a package or membership, but then life happens. Something like a handwritten thank you card arriving in the mail a week after their visit, a cute personal email or text, or maybe even a nice voicemail can jog their memory about their experience with your business, giving them that extra “push” to come back.
In today’s world, everyone is flooded with marketing media everywhere they turn. Something that isn’t a cookie cutter promo email or a sales-y pitch text message catches attention more than you might think. Oh, and remember that relationship you began building with simple conversation? Mention something discussed when you follow up and try to refer back to it if possible, as it can make the entire interaction more memorable and sincere.
Time spent to retain new customers is totally worth it!
Being able to successfully retain a high percentage of your new clients might not happen overnight, but these four secrets will set you and your business on a path toward amazing results as you begin to consistently implement and practice them daily. Growing customer retention rates is a challenge all businesses face, regardless of size or industry. Just know that the results of building a solid customer base are well worth the effort spent!