Recently we shared with you Part One of our $0 – $20K per month sales challenge as part of our Entrepreneur Insider Series – The Secrets to Fast Growth which listed all the best ideas and marketing strategies that we would implement if we were starting from Zero to generate $20K in consistent sales online per month (over 33 marketing strategies in fact – read it here, then continue on with part two here.)
Part two of this series focuses in on the “secret formula” wink, wink, of one of the best fast growth strategies around, regardless of the product or service you sell, industry you work in or country you live in.
Fast Growth Strategies mean exactly that – concepts to induce immediate results to help you get over any sales plateau you maybe experiencing or to help you smash through sales glass ceilings.
The reality is, most don’t know where to start and apply a scatter gun approach that ends up driving their marketing costs through the roof.
Which brings up a question that you’ve no doubt asked yourself and pondered over considerably.
What is the fastest way to create results and ignite new sales in your business?
It’s ground-breaking, get ready for it…
Customer Satisfaction + Customer Retention = GROWTH
It’s a seemingly simple marketing strategy with a lot of moving parts.
Basically – If you are providing your customers with solutions to a problem they cannot solve themselves, when they need it the most AND you’re providing excellent customer service and customer appreciation – then you have a fast growth strategy on your hands.
The key to driving profits and sales through the roof in any business is to ensure your customers aren’t just purchasing once from you, but repeatedly, i.e. increasing the ‘average dollar spend per customer.’
There are countless platforms, tools and applications that can assist in gaining more leads and pumping your message out there, and there will always be lots of platforms, tools and applications, however – your customers, once obtained, are your biggest growth strategy and asset.
You see it is 7x more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to retain and engage existing customers. And when a customer leaves you, 61% of the time they are jumping ship to go to your direct competitor.
So, our formula is based on giving your customers what they desire, then investing back into that client to get them marketing the business on your behalf – thereby reducing your advertising costs in the future and driving up your profit margins.
Are you ready to apply this to your own business?
Let’s break this down into two parts:
Okay, so this is going to sound really basic, and most entrepreneurs skip over it, which quite frankly leads to their unfortunate demise.
So, lean in and listen closely, this will be the tipping point in your business.
The key is to communicate with your customers personally and speak their language. Speak to your customers how they want to be spoken with, on the platform they appreciate, use the words they use in relation to your product / service / problem, not the words that make you appear seemingly more intelligent, otherwise you’ll create an immediate disconnect and you’ll never achieve the elusive product / market fit.
If they can’t understand what you do, and how easy it is to either make a purchase or hire you, you’ve failed by creating a hurdle they must jump over. If that hurdle is too high, i.e. it’s hard / slow to place an order on your website, or the marketing collateral is confusing and brings up more questions than it answers – it’s going to come at your expense, i.e. spending more on marketing because your conversion rates are lower than that of your competitors. It doesn’t impact them because they’ll just go to a competitor who can communicate to them in the way they want to be.
Provide the solutions to your customers which answers their specific needs and makes the process of buying or hiring sound as easy as step one, two and three.
So how I achieve that? I hear you say….
1) Get to know your customers (don’t be afraid) so you can provide for them.
It’s hard to communicate to ‘strangers’, and before a customer is a customer, they’re a stranger. So, the first step is to learn their habits, understand what drives them, what is their motivation, their beliefs, what problems do they need solutions for, how can you add value to their lives by looking at what they need right now.
See how all the emphasis is put on the customer – not on you.
This is the first step to any successful marketing message, campaign or social media marketing campaign. It’s the start of everything!
Now, here’s where entrepreneurs tend to make a fatal mistake…
…they base their answers on what they think, not what the customer is telling them. If your goal is to fail, this is definitely the fastest route.
Never make assumptions here, it will cost you in added advertising costs and months / years delay in achieving the elusive product / market fit that’s the key to your success.
Every single new subscriber to our email list receives a ‘welcome’ email from us asking a very simple question;
“If I could help you with 1 thing to help you get new clients, so you can shape the world we live in through your innovative products / services, what would it be?” Ben Angel
This tells us precisely what our new subscribers are seeking, as well as helping alert me to new trends that we need to focus on to serve our clients better… sooner, rather than later. Thereby allowing us to gauge our customers needs very much in real time.
“Remember in any marketing message: In order to influence someone, you need to know what already influences them. You find this out by getting clear on who your audience is.” – Kissmetrics
2) Listen to your customers to anticipate their requests!
If you’re aiming to consistently create solutions, services and products that cater specifically for your customers needs – then you must listen to what your customers are asking for.
Are there trends on topics and questions in your social media that you see popping up again and again? Is there specific customer service queries that are coming in? Are you getting emails about 2 or 3 questions consistently?
So what if you’re not getting feedback, not seeing trends, not being asked questions?
Then start the conversation – ask your customers the questions you want answered, like I’ve just shown you in the previous example.
Another way you can listen to your customers is by actually asking them questions and reviewing the feedback.
Look at applications like Typeform where you can easily create short surveys to gauge a customer’s reaction to an idea or new solution that they’re looking for (the shortest I’ve seen is 1 question – which was very effective)!
Secondly, create an email autoresponder so that ‘every’ new lead or customer that comes on board will receive it, not only in the first ‘welcome’ email, but a few months later too.
3) You’re gonna hate this!!! Uncomplicate your marketing…
Are you overloading your emails, website and copy with complicated messages, making it really murky for a customer to love and buy from you?
Your customers want short, sharp, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand messages.
“You have such a short space to capture a customer’s attention – this is incredibly true for your website with 17% of page views last less than 4 seconds.”
I once worked with a fashion retailer who would send out an email campaign featuring over 10 pieces of their latest range in one email. We dropped this down to only featuring 3.
Their email campaigns went from doing $2-$5k in sales per email, to over $15-$20k in sales!!!
That’s the power of simplicity.
If your customer is confused or given too many options (which many of you do), they won’t progress to the next stage of their journey with you (and you really want them to do that right)?!
Similarly, if you’re confused about the reasons you’re in business, what you and your company is here to do, and who you’re here to serve then chances are, so are your customers!
If you find it hard to articulate your message easily and quickly, you may need to work with a great copywriter to help you express your message.
Secondly, look at the visual’s you’re using on your website. Highrise have seen a 102.5% increase in sign-ups when they added a happy customer image to their page.
We want increases in sign ups and we definitely want clear marketing messages to help us achieve our goal of consistently earning $20K plus per month in sales.
The reality, like my client, you could be sitting on tens of thousands of dollars in new revenue, but due to overcomplicating the process for your customers, you’re losing out on thousands, quite literally!
This can easily add up to losses over $100k per year.
I don’t know any business that can afford this.
4) Understand your customers emotions to improve your sales!
Each customer – although they may appear as a number in the sales report – each customer is a human being. Talk to them, write to them, speak with them as human beings.
Human beings like emotional connection. Remember what we said in Article One of this series?
“90% of the decisions we make are based on emotions. Geoffrey James at Inc.com explains all buying decisions come down to these 6 feelings;
1. Greed. “If I make a decision now, I will be rewarded.”
2. Fear. “If I don’t make a decision now, I’m toast.”
3. Altruism. “If I make a decision now, I will help others.”
4. Envy. “If I don’t make a decision now, my competition will win.”
5. Pride. “If I make a decision now, I will look smart.”
6. Shame. “If I don’t make a decision now, I will look stupid.”
But first – you need to understand your customers and what drives them, and what emotional state they are operating from, then you can create that genuine connection.
Create a list of your top 10 customers and identify which of the 6 buying decisions drove their initial or subsequent purchases.
This can be very telling and create for compelling marketing copy when you weave it into your collateral.
5) Want to increase your credibility? Be consistent.
Sue Cockburn of GrowingSocialBiz “Strong customer relationships are built on consistency.”
Consistency creates credibility and trustworthiness. If you can prove to your customers that they can rely on you then they will stick with you. Think of our most basic human relationships – the provider/customer relationship is no different.
How can you be consistent in your message, your brand, your service?
You can start with brand standards; what are the brand fonts, colours, logo, main messages, key slogans, standard graphic mock-up etc. Get it into a simple style guide.
Then have a look at what you’ve promised to your customers and make good of those promises!
- Have you promised an email each week? Then send one.
- Have you promised a quarterly sale to your subscribers? Then schedule it in and make it happen.
- Do you speak with a group of clients each week as part of training? Then make the call.
- Is part of your promise a shipping turnaround time of 24 hours or less? Then put the systems in place to make sure that happens.
- Have you promised a quick and easy return process? Then make it quick and easy.
Be consistent. That way when it comes time to ask for a sale, your customers are already satisfied that you will follow through on your end of the promise. And “the sale” becomes a much easier conversation, and one that you can instigate quite quickly.
And, if you break a promise of which is inevitable in even the most successful of businesses, do whatever you can to rectify it as soon as possible.
Angry customers, when turned around can and will become your best advocates when you treat their issues seriously.
Part Two: By investing in customer retention, you’re investing in your success.
According to Bain and Co. a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. Now that’s a fast growth strategy – one that can help you (massively) on your way to $0 – $20K plus per month in sales!
You want to keep the customers you have and make sure that you serve them in the best possible way.
The difference between customer service and customer retention is this: customer service is what you and your team provide on an ongoing basis to all your customers, customer retention is the result of that experience.
So, how do you create a superior experience? Again it comes to planning and talking directly with your customers.
1) Set an outstanding service standard and stand out from your competitors!
Establish an excellent customer service standard in your business. Once you do, not only are you setting yourself apart from your competitors, and giving your customers a reason to stay (and pay) you and your team will be equipped to deal with any less than desirable hiccups with a customer who has a complaint or issue.
Each team member who interacts with customers in any way should be aware of your excellent customer service standards and the role they play in that service.
Make sure the standards are written down, they’re clear and concise and each person knows how to handle your top 5 customer service issues.
You can role play with your team so they are well versed in speaking with clients who have complaints, and write up standard responses to email complaints so they have a base to go from when they’re responding via email.
Also, let them know what the ‘tone’ of email / phone replies should be, i.e. we’re excited to have you onboard, sorry to hear about your issue, we’re here to fix it and do what it takes to make sure you achieve your outcome.”
This style of communication flows from the manager down and needs to be built into the culture of the business.
2) Act Fast on Customer Complaints to Resolve Conflicts
You know that saying “The Devil is in the Detail” well with customer care, it’s not far off. Your biggest launch, highest profile project, best marketing campaigns – and your best intentions – can be undermined by the smallest customer service offense.
Catherine Clifford from Entrepreneur.com says;
“There is an opportunity here. If you impress a customer with your attention to detail and genuine care, you can turn even the most reluctant customer into a champion of your brand.” Catherine Clifford
When you act fast and you have a plan of how to handle customer complaints and issues in the “tone” you’ve identified for your team / yourself, then you’re ahead of the pack.
Remember – you do not want to lose that customer, you want to retain them.
Look at your stats and observe what your “churn rate” is;
“Your churn rate is the amount of customers or subscribers who cut ties with your service or company during a given time period. These customers have “churned.”
You want this to be as low as possible, because the higher the churn rate, the more money and opportunities are walking straight out the door, thereby decreasing the average dollar spend per customer and eroding your profit margins.
3) Let go of your emotions and focus on the customer for a successful conflict resolution
If a customer feels so frustrated that they email, call or connect with you in some way, chances are they’re operating from a heightened emotional state.
We’ve all been there!
Be empathetic and put yourself in their shoes. Remember that feeling when you’ve had a less than positive experience as a consumer and how you felt in that moment.
Be respectful and understanding of the situation.
This is your chance to shine – you have your excellent customer service standards in hand, you’ve acted fast to resolve conflict, now is the perfect time to remind your customers that you genuinely care for them, and you’re there to help.
It’s also the perfect time to get some real life, real time feedback.
If a customer is yelling “I hate this website” ask them what they find frustrating and how they would prefer to see it.
Always try to end a call or email or any customer communication on a positive note with key action steps to resolve the issue.
Instead of feeling frustrated then ashamed and embarrassed you want your client to feel content and grateful that you’ve been able to solve their issue.
4) Get social, because your customers will!
33% of users prefer to contact brands using social media rather than telephone (Nielsen), and not answering customers on social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers.
If a customer complains in a very public way, you must respond – not only is it an opportunity to help that particular customer, but it’s giving your followers evidence that you value customers and are able to act fast to help with issues.
With social media, you’re asking them to connect with you – so the responsibility is on you to reciprocate that relationship.
Getting social also applies for the positive aspect of customer care. If you’ve created a customer experience survey and the results are really positive – then share it and promote it on social media.
5) Go the extra mile and it will pay off in dividends.
Follow through and follow up is one of the biggest underutilised strategies in customer care. If you follow through on the resolution you have created for the customer, you’re showing that you are reliable and trustworthy again. So absolutely – do what you said you would do.
If you take a step further and follow up on that action – say a day later send an email saying;
“Hi Jenny, just wanted to check and see how that new password I sent you yesterday worked out for you? Have you logged into the Members area and had a look around? What do you think?”
This is going the extra mile and may even result in the customer sharing their positive experience online (and of course, staying on board as a customer with you).
6) Gratefulness will increase your customer satisfaction (and yours)!
“If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” Frank A. Clark
Customer service is one arm of keeping a client happy, another is client appreciation.
Be grateful for your clients – they are paying your bills and allowing you to live your lifestyle.
Show your appreciation through personal contact and action. Obviously, the amount of time, energy and money that you spend on client appreciation varies for each company. If you have a member site where you personally coach companies and each company is paying you six figures then you must have an appreciation strategy that matches that investment.
My team and I have worked with businesses who consistently spend hundreds of thousands on client appreciation and organised some amazing client appreciation events, but if you don’t have the budget, you can still add a personal touch to your appreciation strategy.
Here are some ideas to help you get started immediately:
- Send a handwritten note of thanks.
- Send a personal Christmas card.
- Give a personal shout-out on social media highlighting a specific achievement.
- If you’re an author, send them a free book.
- Send a $5 gift card to a coffee shop – everyone loves a free coffee!
- Host a dinner for your VIP customers and cover the bill.
- Host an in-person event for your VIP customers.
- Organise a special deal with an affiliate only for your customers.
- If you know your customer’s birthday, send an e-card, text or call them and say happy birthday!
- If you’re a coach, call them for an unexpected check in call and let them go through their struggles with you.
Your customers are your best asset and your biggest growth strategy.
And mastering customer satisfaction and customer retention is one of the biggest leaps towards your $0 – $20K per month sales challenge that you can take.
Listen to their needs, understand what they’re looking for right now, take note of their feedback – your new big idea may just come from one of these conversations and could add thousands of dollars to your bottom line!
Then take care of them. Follow through on your promises. Be grateful. Understand the reasons for your customer service standards and start leveraging this amazing asset that you have created.
These strategies are only as strong as the plan behind them. If you have a leak in your business, then these customer satisfaction and retention strategies can fall flat.
If you’re ready to take some massive leaps in your business then start here now, my team and I are ready to work with you.