Just a little reminder can boost your sales while keeping your customers in the good graces of their mothers-in-law. Clifford's Flowers, in Quincy, Mass., uses sales records to generate letters reminding past customers to order again for upcoming birthdays or anniversaries. This may sound obvious, but it's effective. James Clifford, owner of the $5-million florist, has found that 75% to 85% of customers who get the letter reorder.

While he may be playing on his customers' guilt--now they have to send flowers to Great-aunt Gertrude--or whether they are enticed by the specials he offers in the letters, Clifford has not only dramatically boosted sales but has also probably saved a few marriages and friendships. He is amazed by the success of this simple tactic. "I never dreamed that three out of four customers would say, 'Yes, send my mother roses again," he says. But his combination of reminder and convenience makes it easy for past customers to become repeat customers, thereby generating new sales.

Copyright 1999 G+J Publishing