As kids get ready to go back to school, I am always reminded of how short the summer really is. Beach parties, family vacations, and BBQs are quickly replaced by Parent/Teacher night, school field trips, PTA donations and lunch boxes. At this time of the year, many of our clients express a renewed feeling of motivation and excitement… kind of like their own first day of school (I’m certain it’s not because the kids are going back to school!). With this feeling comes an energy around work, and, just like the beginning of a new calendar year, we at OLC think this is a perfect time to harness that energy and get folks refocused on goals and activities to increase business.
Here are 3 Back to Basics activities that you can do to retain existing and attract new business this Fall for a solid end of year performance:
Ask for the order
Ok, this one sounds really simple, but it’s harder than it sounds. If you hear yourself saying things like “let me know if there is anything I can help with” or “let me know if you need anything”, then you are not asking for the order (…or contract or sale, etc.). Instead, try “can I open an order for you today?” or “can I write up a contract for us today?” Or even, “what are you working on right now that you plan on sending my way?” Gone are the days of “they know I want the order, so when they have one I’ll get it.” The more times every day that you ask both clients and prospects alike if you can open an order for them, the stronger your bottom line will be.
Give great customer service
Customer service is being redefined in just about every industry we can think of. Technology, competition, and greater consumer awareness is putting a greater focus on service. Price and product are rarely the differentiating factor between competitors these days. But somehow, many companies are missing the mark. Why? Because many have lost sight of the single most important factor in defining great customer service… that they can’t define it because the customers do. When was the last time you systematically asked your customers what they want? We assume that we know what they want, but rarely do we ask them. How about taking some time to poll your customers and ask them what they want? How about asking what communication style they prefer (phone, email or text) or when they would like to hear from you? How often? Find a way to give customers what they are asking for, and the rest will follow. There are customs and norms in every industry, but true innovators knock down long-held beliefs about how “things are done” and find a way to stand out by doing things differently. What needs to be done differently? Ask your customers, they’ll tell you.
Pick up the phone
Phone calls may seem quaint, and a bit archaic, but proactive, personal communication still reigns supreme in many industries that require a personal touch! Email is efficient, and most appreciate a written record of their business transactions, so don’t stop emailing… just pick the phone up too. If you have an important update to provide, send your email then pick up the phone… you can either leave a message that you’ve sent email and just wanted to chat, or what a bonus if they answer. Instead of spending all your phone time on the update, you can inform them you’ve sent it, and then move into more personal/bonding conversation to strengthen your relationship.
Why not take this time to reach out and call clients and THANK them for their loyalty. Call and check on them, if you have not chatted in a while. Or, if it is a new customer, call and ask how you can exceed their expectations. Just pick up the phone!
So, as kids go back to school (and morning traffic gets worse!), let’s get back to basics with some fundamentals of business growth: asking for the order, exceeding expectations and showing appreciation!!
Remember: Grow big or go home!