Customer Relationship Management for LOCAL Business
Remember when you were a kid, you knew everybody living in the street, business people knew you by name, and even the cops knew who you were and where you lived.
Well, sorry to say it is not like that anymore. Cities and towns have grown, people have become transient, and no one seems to know their immediate neighbour, let alone the kid down the street.
Yet, knowing who you are dealing with, trusting their word, and having faith in their products or services is probably the biggest incentive you have to deal with a particular business or person.
That is why a CRM or a Customer Relationship Management system integrated into your business is so important for your success.
Combined with the internet, it is the easiest, most cost efficient way to build trust and loyalty with your customers.
CRM is a database where you maintain the names, email addresses, and other relevant information for each customer or prospect.
You are then able to use the information in the database to keep in contact with prospects and customers on a regular basis using automated, personalised emails.
You can keep your prospects and customers up to date on changes taking place that affect them or your business, give them extra special offers, or continuously supply information on products and services that could help them make a decision or resolve a problem.
Each time you initiate a contact with a customer or prospect you are putting yourself and your business in front of them in a positive manner and reminding them that you are still there, still in business, and still wanting to help them.
Compare that to the average business today that sees a prospect, may or may not do a deal, and probably never sees the customer or prospect again – there is no ongoing contact whatsoever, other than on the customer’s terms.
CRM is a cost effective system you can use to build trust and and gain loyalty on an on-going basis.
A simple CRM, combined with an integrated email marketing system and website, can easily add 20% to your sales and substantial profits to your bottom line. The more you use it the greater the gains will be.
Ask your accountant to calculate how much a 20% increase in sales, with virtually no extra overhead cost, would add to your profit … or do the calculation yourself … YOU WILL BE AMAZED!
Its ironic to see business people spending thousands of hard earned dollars on leaflets, throw-away brochures, media advertising, and larger than required Yellow Page ads, without ever knowing what their return on investment is.
Many seem to ignore the fact that the most profitable way to build business is through repeat, personalised contact with prospects and customers.
Repetitive contact is the most effective way to reach people and get them to absorb your message. It is the ONLY way you can build a relationship, gain their trust, and earn their loyalty. It simply does not happen often enough in ONE contact, ONE sale, or ONE advertisement.
Research has identified five behavioural categories that affect people’s buying decisions, and the percentage of the general population for each category:
Innovators 2.5% = Risk takers and quick responders
Early Adopters 13.5% = Respond and react quickly to new ideas
Early Majority 34% = Considered response, but reasonably quick, review information before responding
Late Majority 34% = Sceptical, careful, slow to react, review information many times before responding
Laggards 16% = Take their time and respond late, if at all
Take note that the Early and Late Majority (the Middle Majority) makes up a huge 68% of the market. They take their time making decisions, often reviewing and researching additional information several times before acting.
Getting your message across to the 68% Middle Majority will have a powerful effect on your sales.
To get through to that 68% means repeating your marketing message over and over, while at the same time continuously giving them more and more information and reasons to do business with you.
The “big-end” does it through media advertising, but then they have squillion dollar budgets – something small local businesses don’t have!
Following up prospects and keeping customers active is a process you can virtually put on auto-pilot if you have the right CRM database, and it is integrated with a website, newsletter/email promotional marketing system, and a robust autoresponder.
If you want more information on how you can build a profitable online business through automated online catalogues, newsletters and promotional email, contact Mike Greenfield, Marketing Director, SiteDesignNOW.com