The Green Sheet Online Edition
August 08, 2011 • Issue 11:08:01
Become a profit asset, not an operations cost
It is common knowledge that in today's business climate, it is necessary to do far more than provide excellent products and services. It is also accepted that value-added products and services increase the chances of making sales and retaining customers.
Following are five suggestions to help you become irreplaceable to your prospects and established customers.
- Over-deliver from the start
Surprise your customers or prospects in a good way. Find something appealing and deliver it. For example, after culmination of a sale, offer a free lunch for two at a nearby, reputable cafe. Or give two box seats for the local baseball team's next home game.
- Offer sales and referral training
For each new customer, offer sales training at your place of business or at a neutral location, such as a hotel conference room. Bring in an outside expert to help. This will likely boost your customer's sales and customer loyalty - and lead to business success.
Also, print up 500 referral cards for your customer's business that contain a special offer, along with your customer's contact information and logo. Give these cards to your customer free of charge, and demonstrate how easy it is to hire temporary help to pass them out to shoppers in the area. This will bring new consumers through your customer's door, as well as help cement your relationship.
In addition, provide a stack of referral cards for your own business. Ask your customer to pass them out to friends who might want to use your services. Be sure to offer a reward that makes it worth your client's time to send referrals your way.
- Conduct ongoing focus groups
Focus groups can enhance the image of all participants. Offer a gift for attendance, and be sure to cater lunch. Such a group will enable you to hear firsthand what matters most to your clients. This is good for solving problems, upselling and building loyalty. A one-on-one follow-up meeting will strengthen your relationship with each attendee.
- Provide marketing information
Provide your customers weekly marketing articles via email or snail mail, whichever each customer who has opted in prefers. This will reinforce your relationships and stimulate referrals in addition to helping your customers' businesses flourish.
- Be a coach
Coaching your customers will help them identify and pursue their goals. Most small-business owners wear many hats. They may like the ideas you provide but not know how to select the appropriate ones and implement them. Guidance from you can lead to staggering results for them. Coaching is becoming a necessity for most small businesses.
I hope these suggestions will help you become a profit asset for your merchant customers instead of just an operations cost.
Daniel Wadleigh is a veteran marketing consultant in the payments industry. He offers an educational program that is available on a PowerPoint presentation and designed to help ISOs elevate themselves above the competition. For more information, please call him at 512-803-0956.
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