Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Engaging your customers

     Free daily tips, information, advice and ideas
     to help you better manage your small business.

     Customers can be a gold mine. But it's up to you to do the mining. They show up to pan for gold, but you must show them how to use the pan--and get what they want. 

     Your customers click on your website and hit the "Place Order" key. Or they come to your retail store and make a purchase. All of them are in a hurry--it's the way life is lived these days. 

     It's up to you to understand their predicament. They need your help on some level or they would not be there. Your promotions have brought them to you. This puts you squarely in their sights. 

     Everyone needs products and services--hopefully yours. But people also need information. They want answers. They want to know what you can do for them. They want to be entertained. It's all about them.

     Example: Irene is an artist. She hand paints silk scarves which she sells along with other items in her women's accessories shop. She generates lots of interest on social media--posting pictures on Facebook, Instagram and other sites. Her pictures show colorful silk scarves arranged in puffs and folds on real people. These pictures demonstrate how her scarves can enhance any number of outfits. Customers order from her website and stop in her shop. Many purchase other things as well. Irene has found the key to engaging her customers.

     Example: Bob is an accountant who sees clients only at tax time. He decided to take it to the next level. He emailed his clients, inviting them to an off-season group meeting. He would be talking about the latest tax rulings and regulations, answering all questions. He would also demonstrate new software they would find interesting. And he posted the session on social media, inviting all for coffee and cake. The meeting was very successful. Bob became the go-to expert for tax information and business accounting. And they spread the word in the community. 

     Example: John runs a furniture store. When a customer came looking for a recliner, John mentioned a matching sofa. Seeing no interest, he changed the conversation. He talked about room layouts and design. He put some computer layouts to work in explaining how a room could be transformed. This elevated the customer's interest to a new level, and it brought a one-time shopper back again and again. The customer referred others interested in seeing computer layouts for their needs and interests.

     Turn customer contacts into fun experiences, educational sessions, and a go-to place for information. The idea is to position your operation at the forefront of your customer's mind. Engage you customers and they will come back again and again, bring others with them.

     Put your customers at ease, educate them, entertain them, show you are interested in them. They will reward you with more purchases and referrals. 


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