In any business, large or small, customer loyalty can mean the difference between a profitable business or no business at all. Attracting customers is important, but it’s as equally important to keep the customers you have.
Sadly, many direct sales consultants fail because they make the mistake of overlooking customer loyalty and the vital role it plays in their business success. Wise direct sellers know that one of the keys to a successful business lies in creating a loyal customer base that buys your products time and time again.
Creating a customer loyalty is easy to achieve, though it does take some effort. Providing quality customer service, a great product, and knowledgeable assistance will ensure your customers return again and again.
Successful direct sales consultants know to listen to the needs of their customers, then meet those needs honestly and efficiently. Even if you have a great product, failing to respect your customers needs can cause you to lose them.
Communicate with your customers. When your customer has a question, respond within 24 business hours, if at all possible, and always in a professional manner. Offer customers a way to reach you via telephone, email, or even by fax. If you have sales and specials, offer a way for your customers to receive updates (ideally by email) so they can keep up with news regarding your products.
Customers continue to buy when a product fills a need they have. Ask yourself if you’re reaching out to your customers and addressing their needs. Do you know what their needs are? Are you working to meet them? If not, what do you need to change to meet the needs your customers have? If you’re unsure, ask your customers. After all, who knows better than they do what they need. Evaluate the areas that can be improved upon, then improve them.
Fix a problem. If you’ve been contacted by a customer about a problem, fix it. It’s that simple. Listen to and try to understand the customer’s complaint. Immediately thank the customer for bringing the problem to your attention and give her a reasonable solution to resolve the problem. One of the worst things a business owner can do is to fail to properly address complaints. Use customer issues as opportunities to build better customer relations.
Drive your customer loyalty up through reliability. It’s a simple idea but it’s sometimes forgotten. As a direct sales consultant, it’s important to strive for reliability in all areas of your business. If you tell your customer your product will be there on Tuesday, do your level best to ensure it is.
If you disappoint your customers too often, it becomes apparent that you’re not reliable, and they will quickly move on to another consultant they can trust. Hold yourself accountable to high standards for the sake of your business.
Create a customer loyalty program that provides benefits for your customer’s patronage. Periodically offer customer incentives such as free shipping or exclusive discounts for their loyalty. Another good idea for rewarding a customer is to remember her birthday. Send a simple card and a special discount or small gift.
Customers are loyal to those who listen to and address their needs. If you have strong customer service skills and are knowledgeable about your products, you have the key ingredients to building a strong customer base that will help you create a successful direct sales business.
Honesty, integrity, and trust are key factors that will help you develop a strong, loyal customer base. If your customers trust you as their number one source for a product, they’ll help you build your business by telling others how great you are.
Keep in touch with your customers so you can stay in the front of their minds. Build a great relationship with them so they will think of you first when they need the product you offer and you’re well on your way to developing a loyal customer base that will shop with you over and over.
photo credit: Aitor Escauriaza
There may come a time when you hit a bump in the road with your direct sales home business. Here are some great ways to help you over that bump and on down the road to success.
3 Easy Steps To Improving Your Business
I know we are all on the look out to try the newest marketing method or jump in to another way of promoting. Before you do start some new method of promotion, read this first.
Not only will this help you stay better organized, but give you direction as well. Follow these steps to build a better business right from the start.
1. Make a list
Start by making a list of what ideas you would like to put into motion. Go over your current marketing plan. Do you have a newsletter? Build it more. Do you have a website? Tweek it so it converts better. Do you book parties? Set a goal to book more. Regardless of what methods you are working on, focus on building on them.
2. Organize your list
Take your list, and put those ideas in order and decide where you should start. For example, let’s say you have a personal website you want to work on, a newsletter, and you also want to work on bringing more visitors in to the site. Your first task should be working on the website to make sure it’s pulling in enough sales. Working on increasing your traffic is going to be a waist of time until your site is working like it should.
3. Stick to it!
With so many marketing ideas out there, it’s hard to focus on just one. However, making a goal to work on just one type of idea can be a huge benefit.
If you are lacking in ideas or direction, you may consider picking up a copy of Direct Sales Success Kit to help get you organized. Good luck!
About the Authors: Kara Kelso & Anita DeFrank are two busy wahms, and the owners of Direct Sales Helpers.
I started my food business in September of last year. What has been hard for me is that everyone loves the products. I just need to get them in the mood to buy. I mailed out flyers and have sent e-mails but I did not get a huge response. I want to advertise and keep in touch with my clients but I do not want to be spending all my money on that with little to no return. I have some clients that use the products everyday and have made it part of their grocery lists, and some that only use them on special occasions. I need to get more of the first clients….
The key to this is creating customer loyalty. We all strive for customer satisfaction, but do we create loyalty? We want our customers to come back to us again and again and remember us, our business and our names when they need a product or service. Remember, it is much easier to keep a customer rather than find new ones.
Here are some tips. These are based on a gourmet food business, but can be tailored for any direct sales business.
*Follow up with your customers 2 – 5 days after the initial sale. Ask them if they have any questions or need suggestions on how to use the products.
*Ask for an email address so you can put them in your email club. Email club members should get specials, discounts, recipes, and more. Tell them to expect this newsletter once a month around the 15th. Now make sure you do this! If they are expecting it, they will look for it.
*Follow up again via phone 30 – 45 days after the sale. By now they have used the product up or have fallen in love with it and will want more. A quick phone call saying “Hi, this is Louann with Megan’s Pantry. I wanted to see if you needed any more products. I’m offering a special today…with any $50 order you can get a free spinach dip (or something like this)
* Follow up via phone before major holidays. You’d be amazed at how many people want/need products before Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc
*Let your customers know where you will be. Are you doing a craft fair or an expo. Tell them this. Pick up the phone and let everyone know you will be at the XYZ expo on Saturday June 1st. Be sure to leave your phone number in case they have questions
*Create a buyers club. As a member, they can get free shipping with any order over $50 or for every $200 spent they’ll receive a full size product of their choice. Be creative. See what works in your area, but remember to keep it simple.
You’ll notice I recommend using the phone rather than mailings. You will have a much better success rate spending time on the phone rather than via mail. Think about all the things you get in the mail and TOSS. Or they end up in a pile of things to do later. A quick phone call develops a personal relationship that will take your business to the next level! Plus phone calls are practically free, where sending things in the mail gets pretty expensive very quickly.
Spend 5 hours a month (That’s only 1.25 hours a week) on the phone making these calls and you will see your customer loyalty SOAR.