In the face of the ongoing lag in an economic recovery, people will still buy from people who they like, trust, and with whom it is convenient to do business. But when, what and how much of anything they buy will be drastically different than pre-Great Recession times.
Uncertainty and fear, coupled with demand for bargains and greater value for the buck, may seem like a perfect storm upon which to capitalize, but just as a customer’s experience was critical to business survival before the recession, it’s going to play a more crucial role in business survival throughout whatever recovery has been realized thus far or is to come.
The post-Great Recession customer wants you to talk with her, not at her. And it all begins with the frequency with which you initiate a true, mutually-beneficial dialogue.
If a client orders only once a year, quarterly communiqués are probably sufficient. If the client orders every week, no more than 12 “special” messages should be adequate without running the risk of becoming a nuisance.
Use your best judgment for customers in between. You’ll most likely find that you will decide the majority of your clients should be contacted between six and ten times during the year—but not everyone at the same six to ten times.
Realistically, the wise business should increase its sales efforts, reduce or eliminate ineffective attempts, exhibit leadership by providing the relevant information and support so customers may make the right decisions for their situations, and become a trusted servant instead of just making an obvious and overt attempt to sell. And, for heaven’s sake, make it a point to ask each client which is the best way to communicate with them—email, text, phone, in person, etc.
—Vince DiCecco, Your Personal Business Trainer