Business worsts, business bests. The joys and the pains and the education!
There are so many things I have learned in the many years I have been in business. Whether it was during my years in the graphic design business or my home based telecom sales work. Whether it was working from home as a “mompreneur” or during my tenure as the marketing director of “The S’Cool”, a failed adult education start up in the Dallas area. Or, finally, my best business love of all, ScrubzBody. I have made plenty of mistakes and did many things right. Here are 10 of my best tips for keeping and maintaining awesome customers and clients.
1) Being nice in general works wonders – It will start and end regular conversations on a good note. It will diffuse a bad one. It makes people feel welcome and invited. Now imagine an entire business of people being nice. Not bad, huh!
2) There is a compliment to be found for everyone – Whether it is a haircut or a new purse or a nail polish color, I will always find something nice to say to a person when they walk into my store. Whether they purchase or not, my intent is to make them feel good, and that is what a compliment does.
3) Showing up is noted and appreciated – When co-workers show up, it is expected because you are paying them, but when customers show up above and beyond, that is a zombie loyalist. Make sure they know how you feel about that. For example, we were filming for an episode of Sell it Like Serhant on Bravo, and I needed many people to show up for a party we hosted on the day of final shooting. The time slot was far from optimal, as it was in the middle of the day and so many of my customers work, but a room full of people arrived right on time. I literally cried.
4) Being honest and straightforward will build your character brand, along with your product brand – It is my humble opinion that the person or persons behind the brand are equally important as the product itself in terms of brand value. Those feelings run deep in small business as does loyalty.
5) Catering to your clients, without losing your integrity is respected more than just giving in – There is a reason your customer and clients go to you in the first place. You are the expert in the field or product they are seeking. Keeping your integrity with things like transparency and straightforwardness will go a long way in keeping that client or customer around for the long haul. And to me, it’s always about the long haul.
6) The customer is always right… unless they are wrong. – But how you approach the topic matter will determine whether or not the relationship can withstand the honesty. Point out all the good before you point out the thing that may be wrong. Remember, you have no business without your customers. Treat them that way.
7) Saying thank you to those who have helped your business grow makes you both feel good – Make sure your mentors and loyal supporters know how grateful you are. Give them a free gift now and then. Mention them in a comment. Stay open late for them. Offer curb side service or in-home service if they have an issue getting to you. Pay it forward and mentor others as another way to say thank you.
8) Know when to cut your losses – This is a big one. Sometimes we dive so deeply into an idea, product or business that we think we should just continue for that reason. This, to me, is throwing good money after bad and it is unhealthy for any business bottom line, let alone your peace of mind. I like to think of all that money as R&D. Remember that so many of the ways we prove something right is first by having something go wrong. Cut ties on anything that is not serving your customers and your business.
9) Trying hard, never letting failures stop you, and being true to your own vision is the best success you could hope for – Yes, money is necessary in business and I am not saying that making lots of it isn’t great. However, building something or working on something to the very best of our ability and drive makes us feel like we are king of the world. It makes us fluff our feathers and strut like a peacock. That is a huge success all its own and it serves your customers really well.
10) A good plan, a consistent marketing strategy and a little cash to build the business doesn’t hurt, either! – If I had all the money I ever needed I would make my products and give them away just because I wanted people to have soft skin. But alas, I don’t, so I need to have a solid bottom line and a way to keep the money funnel flowing. Sometimes that means monetizing other aspects of your business. Besides selling our products online and at our shop, we also host parties and events and sell wholesale and private label, too. It’s a way to avoid slow retail months.
Keeping growing and learning. Keep listening.
Without a doubt being a business owner is not for the faint of heart. It takes grit and patience and love and passion and money and a ridiculous amount of work. But being true to ourselves and our mission is what keeps our customers happy and content. And that brings them back time and time again. And that’s what businesses are built on.