Monday, May 13, 2013

7 Ways to Thank Those Who Send You Business to Build WOM

Marketing Secret 39 Out of 101 - Thank, Reward, Cheer, Publicly Appreciate Influencers

Marriage Tip #1 - Don't ever take your spouse for granted!  Wonder how many marriages would still be in tact if that advice had been followed.  "But how many times do I have to tell you that your beautiful?"  Correct answer:  It is never enough.   "But how many times do I have to tell you how amazing you are at running your business?"  Same answer.

Business Tip #39 - Don't ever take your influencers for granted!  Wonder how many customers not only stopped spreading the word about you, but even stopped coming in because they didn't feel the love.  And just because it is tip #39, does not mean it isn't important.  After all, there are another 62 that follow this one, and I'm sure others could add another 101 to my 101.

Do you know who is currently singing your praises and bringing in new business?  Think about it.  Make a list.  Ask your staff for names.  Then start a proactive campaign to get more.  These can be from existing customers, friends, and associates, or starting with the next customer.   (See Chapter 38 - Find the Influencers in Your Community to Spread Word of Mouth).

How can you keep them working for your business?  Here are 7 ways to thank them.

1.  Keep them Informed - Those who like to influence others are generally information sponges.  They can only be an influencer if they are providing useful, timely information about a wide range of subjects.  Their motive may be many and varied, but generally they feel helpful, useful, or even powerful as a result of the role they take.

Help them out.  Give them the latest scoop.  Call, send emails (personal), and take them aside when they are at your business.  Provide them with inside information about new products or services.  Let them borrow samples of items to try.  Are you aware of trends or deals that you can share?

2.  Make them special - Personalize your own business relationship the Nordstrom's way.  You may or may not know that Nordstrom's sales people keep a book on many of their clients.  When new clothes arrive, they go through their client list to see who would be likely candidates for the latest greatest offerings.  Then they set up appointments for them to come and try on the new items.  When I ran a factory, the commercial lines insurance broker would call me every quarter to set a time to meet.  He would bring me up to date on changes in the commercial insurance markets. I have recommended him over and over.

3.  Praise in public - Publicly praise or thank your influencers.  When they come in the store, introduce them to any new employees, giving high praise for their importance to the store.  The client should see that they will have influence with anyone on your staff.  If there are seminars or dinners or clinics that your influencers participate in, find a reason to applaud them in that situation.

4.  Update them on the referral - If you get a specific client or contract or opportunity as a result of a recommendation from an influencer, make sure that you let them know the status of that opportunity.  Did you call?  Did you connect?  What is the current status?  Did you land the deal?  This is important on so many levels.  From the point of view of the influencer:
  • I'm not going to give you more referrals if you don't take advantage of the ones I bring you.
  • I can get extra feel goods by knowing the outcome
  • I can call my friend and get the benefit of having been part of the effort
  • I may be able to help push the deal forward, and broker any missteps  
5.  Send a gift - Obvious right?  Do you do it?  Cash is the least appreciated.  Discounts on future purchases seems like what they should get anyway.  A free item or service?  That's better.

Like any gift, the best gift will be something that shows you know them and care about them.  Tickets to their favorite sports or entertainment event.  Dinner out on you.  A really, really nice wine.  If the new client turns out to be worth a lot to you, you may even want to send another thank you later.

6.  Return the favor - Is there some way for you to refer business, ideas, or suppliers to the influencer?  This won't cost you out of pocket, but it will take a serious effort in time to think about where you can be of help.  

7.  Create a VIP club - This club never has to meet, but I'd suggest that it does meet at least once a year for a tribute dinner.  It can be made up of best customers, influencers, suppliers, etc.  They are the folks who are making the biggest contribution to your success.  They should certainly have some kind of platinum card that gives them specific benefits.  There should potentially be a special email several times a year.  There can be special hours when they can shop or visit that are not available to the rest of your customers.

So by now your word of mouth should be making you tons of friends and money.  We cap off the word of mouth section of this book with chapter 40:  "Do you Cultivate Customers, Clients, or Fans?"

Have you read the other 38 chapters that proceeded this one?  They are all on this blog.  At least for now.  If you subscribe, you will be alerted as I keep adding to the list.  Why don't you let your friends online and offline know about this blog.  After all, you could be my influencer.

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