Is Your New Customer Bucket Full of Holes?

by Stacy Karacostas

Years ago I was struggling with chronic knee problems. So I went to
see yet another specialist to figure out why, even after surgery, I
kept tearing the same spot in my meniscus.

Back then you actually got to see the doctor for more than 15
minutes, and we hit it off well. Though overall the visit was
uneventful.

After the usual exams and tests, she gave me new exercises to do
while using a machine that beeped when certain muscles fired. I
thought "Oh boy, more exercises..." and went on my way.

Then two weeks later, I got a call from the doctor checking to see
how things were going! I was blown away!!!

Growing up working in my parent's animal hospital, we always called
owners the day after their pets wen t home from surgery to make sure
everything was fine. And they loved the extra touch. But I'd NEVER
had a doctor call me-before or since.

Yet this small action always made a big impact.

Now let me ask you…When was the last time you followed up with your
past clients or customers?

If you:

Are pretty sure you sent at least one thank you or holiday card...
Can't remember... Haven't ever really followed up at all… You're
losing business-and money-as a result!

Most entrepreneurs spend most, if not all, of their marketing
efforts attracting new clients-and hardly any on following up. That's
like pouring water into a holey bucket.

Because you have to constantly find new customers, get in front of
them until they take notice, then convince them to take action.
Whereas past clients and customers already know, like and trust you.
And those who just bought from you are most likely to buy again (and
sooner than you think).

But only if you stay in touch regularly.

If you don't, they fall out the bottom of your business and you have
to start the whole process again.

While it does take some work to get regular follow-up systems in
place, the results are worth it. And you only have to do the work
once.

Below are six simple and effective ways to follow up, ranging in
cost from "nothin' but your time" to a few hundred a month…Plus tips
for automating or outsourcing whenever possible.

Cheapest and easiest

1) Pick up the phone and give 'em a call --Check in. See how they're
doing. Ask if they have questions.

Often you can have an employee, a call center, or a Virtual
Assistant do this for you. As long as you provide a script, and a
list of common questions and answers, they'll do fine.

2) Write a thank you card --A handwritten card is always
appreciated. Be sure to write them right after your first meeting or
sale. Otherwise, you probably won't do it at all. You can have an
assistant write them for you or use an online service like
sendoutcards.com to make it easy.

Minimal cost and effort

3) Start a monthly or bi-monthly e-newsletter --Use an email
broadcasting service like 1shoppingcart, constantcontact, aweber etc.
to deliver your emails so you're spam compliant. Then pre-write and
preset e-newsletters to go out later.

If you're not a writer, hire someone to write for you. Or, buy
prewritten content.

4) Send regular postcards --Use a simple system like my folks did of
creating all follow up cards at the first visit, then filing them in
a box by month to be mailed later. Or use an online service like
sendoutcards.com to automate it.

A little more, but worth it

5) Send a monthly or bi-monthly print newsletter --To keep costs
low, do a single sheet back/front or an oversized postcard. Then pack
it with helpful tips, articles, quotes, etc. Again, you can outsource
it all to a Virtual Assistant or buy content, if needed.

6) Have a client appreciation party --Reserve a room in a bar or
restaurant, a pavilion in a park, or use your own home or office if
appropriate. Ideally, tie it in with a charity or have a raffle. Then
send extra invites and encourage clients to bring friends, coworkers
etc.

These are just a few ideas. It doesn't matter what you do as long as
you do it consistently. So start with one idea. Then once your
systems are in place, start doing another one and so on.

I promise, it'll be easy once you get everything up and running.
Best of all, you'll love the results-and so will your clients.

(Here are links to the services I personally use, in case you're
interested…

- Jim Palmer's Newsletter Content Service
http://www.kickstartcart.com/app/?Clk=3022883

- 1shoppingcart email autoresponder and/or ecommerce system
http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?pr=1&id=98461

- VAs who do terrific newsletter content and/or layout (both print
and email):

www.keyadministration.com and bsetc.com
http://www.marketerschoice.com/app/?af=679476


©2009 Stacy Karacostas. All Rights Reserved. www.success-stream.com

Practical Marketing Expert Stacy Karacostas specializes in
taking the stress, struggle and confusion out of growing your
small business. Get tons of marketing tips and ideas, plus grab
a copy of her info-packed FREE REPORT "The 7 Deadliest Small
Business Marketing Sins…Are You Guilty?" at http://www.success-
stream.com.

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