Whether you favor social media, phone calls, or in-person meetings, every interaction you have with clients or potential customers is valuable. You have a chance to turn customers into loyalists, and turn people who are sitting on the fence about your business into super fans.
The number of times you reach out to a prospect is very important. You don't want to flood their inbox, of course--this causes fatigue and may cause them to unsubscribe from your communications--meaning you should spread out the frequency of your contact with them. For example, if you usually touch base by email, you may want to space that out with a friendly message on social media.
Even knowing this, it's surprisingly easy to waste one or more of these opportunities. I'm here to help you avoid that fate.
How do you do that? With an ask, of course.
Every time you connect with someone new, you should provide some information--and also include an ask, because if you've got the opportunity you should take advantage of it. Here are four questions you can ask a potential customer:
1. Would you follow me on social media?
Unless your client has been living under a rock, he or she is on some kind of social media or online networking site. You probably have a social media presence, too. Let them know it.
It can be as simple as putting a line asking them to follow you or connect with your company at the bottom of every email or newsletter, as well as links to your pages. All it takes is a click from them to ensure they don't miss out on any of your news.
2. Can you help me support this charity?
Every civic-minded business should support at least one charitable organization or be affiliated with a fundraiser. Let people know about your efforts. Ask your clients to spread the word, participate in an upcoming event, read more about the charity and its cause, or even to make a small donation--by supporting your business or by making a contribution outright.
3. Do you have any feedback for me?
When you've built something from the group up or with the help of your own team, it's easy to be blinded by all of the hard work that went into creating it. You can't possibly see from every point of view, so by asking what stands out like a sore thumb to this fresh new set of eyes, you might get a surprising answer.
For example, I once asked a friend to review my website and let me know what kinks they ran into along the way. The friend told me that navigating on a mobile device was confusing for them.
I'd thought it was very easy to explore. However, I had a lot more experience when it came to online shopping. This exercise allowed me to step back and see our weak points through a potential customer's eyes, and more importantly, make improvements.
4. Can you help me spread the word?
In business, it's all about who you know, not what you know. Broaden your circle and narrow the six degrees of separation. Ask your clients to spread the word about your business, make a referral, or to invite a friend to take advantage of your services.
This is easier than you think. You just need to give some kind of an incentive. A percentage off a service or purchase seems to bode well with most new customers, in my experience.
Building a supportive customer base boils down to how well you treat the person and having quality products and services. You'll earn bonus points for going above and beyond the call of duty, so make sure to make the most of these interactions--every single one of them.