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Managing Your Business Contacts for Success

As an Entrepreneur your clients are the number one reason your business is successful, because after all, a business cannot exist without money, and money comes from your customers. So once a customer uses your business, how can you keep them coming back for more? The secret is simple, keep in contact with them, and give them reasons to come back to your business. Each business is different, so you will want to look at what will work best for you. Here are a few ways that successful businesses stay in touch with their previous clients:

As an Entrepreneur your clients are the number one reason your business is successful, because after all, a business cannot exist without money, and money comes from your customers. So once a customer uses your business, how can you keep them coming back for more? The secret is simple, keep in contact with them, and give them reasons to come back to your business.

Each business is different, so you will want to look at what will
work best for you. Here are a few ways that successful businesses stay in touch with their previous clients:

1) Keep a client list.

Unless you record each one of your clients information, you will
have no way of getting into contact with them. You can do this in a number
of ways, from as simple as getting a customer to sign a guestbook, all
the way to as complicated as requesting your client to sign up for a
newsletter. Once you have a list of clients, you will be able to
contact as often as you wish.

2) If you add a new product, service, or expand your business in any way, do inform your previous clients first.

You can achieve this in a few ways:

-If you have a newsletter, include it in your newsletter.
-Do a mass mailing using postcards, letters, etc
-Call any client that has willingly included their phone number, but only use this idea if the change would directly relate to them.
-Post the change on your website.

3) Keep an up-to-date a website.

Websites can be accessed by any of your previous clientele, and
provide a great link of communication. Not only should you provide
information about your business, but you may also want to include
information such as tips, and articles. Visit YOLAto get a free or an affordable do it yourself website and hosting.

4) Simple: Write thank you notes to your clients.

A handwritten thank you note shows the client that you truly
appreciate their business. If a client feels that they are appreciated
and welcomed, chances are that they will come back to your business
before doing business with one of your competitors.

5) The use of marketing materials can keep you in contact with your clients.

You would be surprised how much impact a simple pen with your logo
and phone number can do. Other marketing materials include: magnetic
business cards, Key rings, and notepads. These marketing materials are
typically fairly inexpensive, and can be ordered in mass quantities.

6) If you do not want to directly ask for contact information, you may need to get a little creative.

One idea is to hold a contest. Require the client to fill out a
card with their information, or drop in their business card. Make sure
that you tell the clients that you will be contacting them about your
services or products(this can be accomplished by writing it on the
card, or displaying it near where they have to their business card or
information card once they are finished). Give away something that
would be of great interest to your type of client, so you can get the
maximum number of entries. Change this contest frequently to gain
maximum exposure.

7) Discount coupons are a great way to bring your customers back.

Will 10% off hurt your business, especially if it means whether or
not you get that client to come back in? You may want to mail these
coupons out, or supply a code for use upon checkout if you have an
online business.

8) You may want to consider starting a referral system.

A referral program will not only get your previous clients to come
back, but it will also help you obtain new clients as well. For
example: for each referral, you will give the client a 10 dollar gift
card to use in your store/business. Be careful not to give out cash, as this may
or may not be used for products or services for your business.

About the author

Buhle Dlamini is an entrepreneur, a sought-after business speaker, author and founding CEO of Young and Able Consulting, a personal and business development consultancy. He is the Platinum Winner of 2011 SA's Future100 Entrepreneurs Award for being one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in SA.

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