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Turn customer contacts into fun experiences, educational sessions, and go-to places for information. The idea is to position your operation in the forefront of customers' minds. Engage your customers and they will return again and again--bringing others with them.
Example: An accountant sees clients only at tax time. Take it to the next level. Invite several of them to attend a special session where you'll educate them on the latest tax rules and regulations. You'll answer all their questions, serve coffee, and demonstrate new software for handling accounts. You become the go-to place for expert information, and your clients refer others to you.
Example: A jewelry maker designs earrings, necklaces, and more in gold and silver. One-of-a-kind pieces are offered through the website. Social media drives eyeballs to the site. Clients are invited to submit their own ideas for custom designs, and rough illustrations arrive in emails. There is a back-and-forth to home in on the final design, but the jewelry maker has been very successful in providing finished pieces to happy customers--all done long distance.
Example: A hypnotherapist offers an open seminar on how hypnosis can be effective in pain management. The session is directed to and open to doctors and nurses. Post-surgery patients are referred to the hypnotherapist following the session.
Example: A furniture store looks at every walk-in as challenge to fill a room with appropriate pieces. When a client expresses interest in a recliner, he is guided to a computer screen to show how the piece will look in a room setting. The conversation leads to room layouts, and the client is encouraged to "play around" on the computer--designing a room with furniture. It leads to more sales and a customer who returns again and again.
Becoming involved with customers is good for business. Help them understand the possibilities and guide them through the complexities of whatever their wants might be.
Sometime, people don't actually know what they need or want. It's up to you to put a face on that need or want. Then you can help them solve their problem.
When you are the go-to expert in your field, customers will gladly pay extra for your expertise. Just remember to build the cost of this into your pricing schedules. You are selling not only a product or service. You are selling your knowledge and experience.