Repeat Customers – The Heart of our Business
You’ve worked hard and got that customer to place their first order! Great job! Now to get them to order again and again, month after month. That is the heart of where our orders come from – our repeat customers. We are in a great industry that does not have to continually find new customers because the market is saturated and everyone has what we are selling. We sell a consumable product that needs to be replenished constantly so our largest sales volume is from repeat customers. What should we be doing to get our customers to order what they need from us month after month?
CATALOGS – We have a beautiful 48-page full-color catalog each month that has taken a lot of time and effort to produce. The catalog is an essential part of getting those orders each month so it is most important to get one to every customer EVERY month. Because the company feels so strongly about this, they do not charge us for the catalogs we give to our ordering customers each month. **If you run out of catalogs, make sure they know where to look at the catalog online.
Mailing Catalogs – If you want your catalogs mailed to your customers, make sure to get them in the mail so the customer gets them approximately 2 weeks before your order deadline. The office has a bulk mailing permit so we have the option to have our catalogs mailed out directly to our customers for only $.50 each. If you choose this option, please make sure you have placed a check mark next to each customer’s name in the Mailing Catalog section of your Rep Portal. This is a great service as the cost for a rep to mail a catalog to their customer flat (not folded) at first class rate costs an average of $1.40 each. **Please be aware that there have been issues with bulk mailings being delivered until after the order closes because they do not get the same priority as first class mail. We are very sorry this has happened but it is something that is out of our control.
Hand Deliver Catalogs – If you choose this option, you can hand each customer a catalog who has an order to pickup that month and then get the rest out to those who did not have an order to pick up. Make sure you do get those non-ordering customers a catalog! Not everyone orders every month so don’t run the risk of losing them as a customer just because they didn’t order one month. Get them a catalog by dropping one off to them or mailing it to them.
***We don’t suggest leaving a whole stack of catalogs at one spot, like the post office, and expect that your customers will get their catalog that way. You need to know who is getting a catalog so you can check back with them as order deadline draws near to see if they have an order. If someone new grabs a catalog from the stack, there is no way of knowing and no way to follow up. DO NOT expect them to contact you if they have an order. Reminders are ESSENTIAL to getting those orders in.
REMINDERS – This is a critical part of a sales rep’s job – reminding your customers that it is time to get their order in. It is important to plan a series of reminders during the week prior to order deadline. One reminder is not going to cut it with how busy most people are these days. Utilize every way possible to reach and contact your customers to see if they have an order. No answer is not a NO. It just means they haven’t seen your reminder or haven’t had a chance to respond. You are not bothering them but providing a needed service in our very busy world.
Send an email, a text message, a Facebook post on your group page or business page, a private Facebook message, a phone call, and/or a reminder in person if you see them while you are out and about. Use every means possible to make contact with your customers. You may have to do all of these ways to reach all your customers. It is important to keep track of who to contact and how you contacted them so you do not continue sending reminders to a customer who has responded with an order or let you know they don’t need anything this time. The Ordering vs Non-Ordering Report is great for this.
ORDER DELIVERY – Another critical part to getting repeat customers is to get their order to them in a timely manner. The worse thing to do is sit on a customer’s orders for a week before letting them know it is here and ready for them to pick up. BUT I’m also not talking about practically killing yourself every month when that order comes in to get it back out within a couple of hours or stopping your entire life until every order is out of your house. I’m talking timely which can be different for every sales rep. Make sure you have done a complete inventory BEFORE any orders leave your home so you know you get everything you were supposed to. Set days and times for customers to come pick up their order from you OR let customers know when you will be in their area to deliver their order. These times should work around your schedule and your family’s schedule and not interfere with important family events.
ATTITUDE – During this whole process, your attitude will go a long way to bringing those customers back month after month. Have a smile on your face and a happy demeanor, even if it has been the worst day for you. We don’t want to have our customers feel bad that they contacted us to place an order or came to pick up their order. They are a disruption in your life but a welcome call or welcome visitor. We need and appreciate their business and they need to feel that every time we are in contact with them.
Without our customers, we wouldn’t have a business and it is essential that they know how much we appreciate them and their business!
Becky Price, RSM