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How well do you know your customers?

Recently whilst I was analysing my sales and marketing activities I discovered that my closing rate for a business sale is 98%. I was discussing this with an associate who asked me how I managed to achieve that and keep it consistent? My answer very simply was I know clearly who my customers are, where they are located and how to target them. Therefore I only focus my energies on marketing and promoting to that group. When I commenced my business I spent a large amount of time working on my marketing plan, identifying, researching and describing my target market. I continually ask my customers questions about their needs, what publications they read, what networks they attend and generally how they get information to improve their respective businesses.

I maintain regular contact with my existing customers, contacts and potential customers, this way I can respond to the needs of the market that business is in. Here are 5 keys that I use to get to know my customers that might help your business:

1. Develop a system to stay in contact

My database is my best support in business. I use it to keep details that are pertinent to my customers, information and facts that are important to them and their needs. I have a contact cycle in place so that each person is contacted on a regular basis. More often than not, I have obtained extra sales or developed new customers from this approach. Develop your own cycle to include face to face visits, phone calls, emails, newsletters and letters with interesting pieces of information.

2. Maintaining phone contact

I make it a general rule to contact two people everyday (no exceptions!). These two people can either be existing customers, business associates, suppliers, contacts or potential customers. This one habit has helped to increase the amount of referral business that I have.

3. Increased face to face contact

I love the face to face visits, particularly in today's world when we rely so much on the internet and email for communication with our customers. I recently experienced almost two days without internet access and it felt like I had been cut off from the business world. I was annoyed and felt inconvenienced at first, then I asked myself how could I turn the situation to my advantage?

I went back to one of the core beliefs that I have and called several customers and organised to visit them during my down time. At these visits I gained invaluable time and knowledge about their business and needs that I may not have had, the bonus was I also gained a new customer by visiting with an old business associate!

4. Email contact

I once read that you cannot service too much. This piece of information has been a guiding light for the use of email in my business. I view each email that I send to my customers with this guide... Will this be of service for X? Sometimes these emails are newsletters, interesting pieces of information, quotes, articles of interest, ideas, surveys or even a quick hello. I don't know the magic formula for how much is too much with email communication - what I do know is what my customers like, and I only know this by asking them and getting to know them better!

5. Enjoy what you do and keep it fun

Enjoy what you do, keep it fun and let everyone know! I believe this is the one of the most critical factors. Do what you love, love what you do! Sales and marketing, training, workshops and the ability to interact with people everyday is what I love, therefore it makes it easy for me to talk to my customers, associates and potential customers.

Author:.

Sue Henry is an Australian networking and small business expert and co-author (Network or Perish and Accelerate: How to Accelerate Your Business, Yourself and Your Networking Skills). She is in demand as a public speaker, motivator and small business expert. Sue believes in delivering information that is practical, informative and entertaining.

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