We all spend so much time on our marketing and doing our utmost to gain new enquiries and turn these to clients.  But how much time do you spend on past enquiries?  Do you have any process in place for going back to those who haven’t yet bought from you and asking if they are still interested?  Far too many small business owners don’t and it is one of the most effective ways of getting more customers.

These are warm leads that are right under your nose and could bring some much-needed income into your business.

Just this week I met with a client in the wedding industry whose sales were a little slow.  They were working every waking hour trying to drum up more business and came to me for marketing advice.  I asked them how many enquiries they had had over the last six months and how many times they had contacted those that had not yet booked with them.  They told me they didn’t have the time to do this and that they felt it was pointless as if these people were interested, they would have been in contact already.

Personally, I feel this is a very short sighted way of looking at things.  Particularly in the wedding industry, and in many others, people will make enquiries to a number of suppliers before making a decision, and that decision can take a long time.  It is the suppliers who keep in contact and make that extra bit of effort to make the potential client feel that they are valued that are likely to get the sale.

I managed to convince my client to humour me and take just a couple of hours the next day to call all past enquiries to ask if they had made a decision yet, and if not, did they have any questions or queries they would like to discuss.

short sightedI had a call to say that from just the first six past prospects called, 2 had booked my client for their wedding needs.  Being a high ticket supplier, this has made a big difference to their bottom line.

So if you are serious about getting more customers, go back and look at your past enquiries.  Try giving them a call to see if they are still interested in your product or service.  Even if they have bought elsewhere, you can use the opportunity to ask what prompted their decision to go with an alternative source and if they are happy with their purchase.  This will provide you with both valuable market research and it may just be that they are not happy and wish to switch to buy from you in the future.

You can also do this with past customers.  Make sure you make the time to keep in contact with them and see if they wish to make an additional purchase.  Please do not make the mistake that happened to me just this morning.

I phoned a health practitioner as I had not been for a while.  I am a private patient so this is not a cheap service and I have spent a lot in the past.  But when I phoned I was told that as they had not heard from me for a while they had deleted me from their system!!! What!!!

I was stunned.  Customer service at its worst.  Why on earth if they had not heard from me did they not send me a reminder via email?  Or at least inform me that I would be deleted if I did not get in contact within a certain time.  The result was that I hung up and booked myself in privately at another practice.

Continued customer contact is such a simple thing to do but so often overlooked.  Set yourself up a simple system to act as a reminder to make future contact with everyone who either makes an enquiry or buys from you.  You can get a free online CRM system which is easy to set up and can do this for you.

You never know how much potential income is just sat there waiting for the taking and how easy this method is for getting more customers.

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