If you have customers, that’s good. If you can sell them repeatedly over time, that’s even better!
Actively pursuing repeat sales, also known as backend sales, is one of the most profitable things you can do for your small business.
Here are three ways to do it …
1. Say, “Thank you”
Start with a simple thank-you letter. Ask yourself this — when is the last time you got a thank-you letter from a company after giving them your money? I’ll bet you can’t remember. See the possibilities for standing out and generating good will?
I created an email template so I don’t have to write the same thank-you email over and over. It literally takes seconds for me to send one out to each client. A heartfelt “thank you” is all you really have to say, but you can go a bit further in your message, by doing the following:
- Reinforce why it was a good idea to buy from you in the first place — sell your company after the sale to cut down on buyer’s remorse and returns/refunds.
- Offer another product or service to complement their original purchase; you can make this a limited-time offer, as I do. (see my example thank-you email below) Refer customers to affiliate programs at other Web sites that pay you.
- Anticipate frequently asked questions (FAQ) and tell customers how they can get service after the sale.
- Ask for referrals.
- Simply sending a thank-you message after the sale will help nip service problems in the bud.
By acknowledging people who buy from you and opening a channel of communication, you can turn unhappy customers into raving fans who later recommend your business.
Really, when you think of it, the only thing that differentiates your business — online or off — is service.
Yes, it’s crucial to have the highest-quality product/service possible. But what customers remember (and what they tell their friends) is how they were treated. You can set the tone for a positive, profitable relationship with all your customers simply by thanking them right after they purchase from you.
2. Send a survey
Customer feedback, negative or positive, is a crucial tool for fixing holes in your business. You can get that feedback via an online survey. As of this writing, you can get one free at Zoomerang (www.zoomerang.com). I’ve used them for over a year and highly recommend their survey creator. A good customer survey is like a vigorous massage — you may feel beat up after reading the results, because NO business serves its customers as well as it thinks it does, but the results will energize you.
A survey is a window into your clients’ minds. If you include a section for them to include their comments, it’s like having a free product research laboratory! LISTEN and ACT on what your customers tell you. They’ll give you invaluable tips on what new products to sell, joint ventures to form, etc.
You’ll also find that clients answering your survey will often give you testimonials, which you can later use on your Web site. As you probably know, testimonials are an incredibly effective way to boost credibility and sales. I’ve accumulated five or six pages of them over the years (I stopped counting) and prospects continually tell me that my testimonials were a deciding factor in why they chose to buy from me.
3. Introduce them to non-competitors’ products
What if customers won’t need your product/service again for a long time, if ever? If you haven’t done so already, set up affiliate deals from other Web sites that offer items related to your own. My business offers a perfect example. Buying a resume is a lot like visiting the dentist — it’s not something people look forward to, and they likely won’t make a repeat purchase for 6-12 months … or longer. To overcome this, I email my clients information about career-related Web
sites where they can register for job search services, buy books and audio tapes, refer jobs to friends, etc.
Each of these sites has an affiliate program that pays me $1 to $5 every time people register or buy. It all adds up to hundreds of dollars in monthly revenue that would have been left on the table had I not introduced my customers to these other sites.
Need ideas on what kinds of products or services to offer your customers? You can search for an affiliate program that’s right for your customers at one of these sites – www.associateprograms.com or www.refer-it.com
Best of luck to you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Donlin has been selling online since 1995. This article is an excerpt from “How to Double Your Small Business Sales in 20 Minutes a Day With Follow-up Marketing”, a new manual that does just what the title says. Guaranteed. To learn more, visit http://www.guaranteedmarketing.com/manual