Shortly after I graduated and put out my shingle, I got a phone call from Charlie, a client I had recently completed a website for. Charlie sold an almost magical product that saxophone players everywhere swore worked so well that it must contain pixie dust. Charlie told me about one of the “giants” of the woodwind mouthpiece and accessories industry – Santy Runyon. The best part of the call was when Charlie told me that Santy was waiting for my call and that he wanted me to do for him what I had done for Charlie. I had never heard of Santy Runyon, but I knew of his company from my days in middle school when I learned to play the trombone and had seen Runyon Products in my band director’s office. Now he was waiting for my call and wanted my services, all because I had turned a regular customer into a raving fan. Let’s look at a couple of keys for turning your existing clients into your unpaid sales force who will bring you lots of great new clients.
The first step toward turning your regular clients into raving fans who will recommend your business to others is that you’ve got to consistently deliver high value to your customers. There is something special that happens when you habitually deliver high value to your customers – you really stand out, in a good way. Your customers will notice, and as they do so, they will tell others as well.
These days it seems like cutting corners and costs is all the rage. Some time back, US Airways made news with their decision to stop handing out the tiny bag of peanuts on the plane. Now if you want a snack, you’ve got to pay for it. They aren’t the only ones nickeling and diming their customers for every little thing. The loss of goodwill and loyalty among their customers is instructive about the result of that way of treating customers.
In this environment, not only consistently delivering high value, but also wowing your customers when you can will pay huge dividends. Instead of slowly destroying goodwill and loyalty like a lot of businesses out there, you’ll be greatly increasing it.
It really is worth the effort to wow your customers. The extra effort that it takes to truly wow your customers will come back to you many times over. It’s a universal law.
Your customers can sell your products and services far more forcefully to the people they know than perhaps you ever would. It’s strange how that works, but it is often true. Santy Runyon didn’t know much at all about the Internet, before Charlie talked with him. Charlie told him, in very strong terms, that he really needed to get his business on the Internet, about what all it could do for his company, about what all it had done for Charlie’s business and that Santy needed to have me do it for him.
Working with Santy was a great delight. When I met him he was in his 90’s and still active and working on new inventions and new products. In the years that I worked with him, he sent a lot of other businesses my way.
The value of turning your clients into raving fans is obvious – they become, in effect, an unpaid sales force that will bring you additional business. You just never know when the customer that you delight today will send you your next dream client.