Every business wants more sales. But many businesses overlook how much of an effect your current customers have on your sales’ growth trajectory. A recent study by Implisit found that referral leads had double the conversion rate of any other lead type, and nearly four times the conversion rate of paid search and general advertising leads. Here are five things you need to do to take care of your current customers and increase referral sales. #1. You Need to Have Great Customer Service According to SurveyMonkey, 97% of consumers said that they were very likely to tell their friends about a company if they felt they had experienced excellent customer service. But according to Harris Interactive, 89% of customers will start doing business with a competitor after a negative customer service experience and will tell 10 friends as well. Your consumer is going to tell one of two stories about your business. Which is it going to be? With today’s technology, there is no excuse for poor customer service. You can get help desk software that allows you to track all your interaction with each customer, create support tickets, monitor social media for complaints, automatically route tickets to the appropriate representative, chat online to resolve issues, and much more. This means you can streamline customer support practices, help more customers with less staff, and make sure no one falls through the cracks. #2. Set Up a Customer Rewards or Loyalty Program Customers like knowing that they are valued by a business. You can communicate this by setting up a customer rewards program. There are a bunch of different customer rewards options available today, from free coupons and promos to rewards or special discounts when certain spending thresholds are reached. This rewards customers for supporting your business while giving them a clear incentive to keep coming back. There are several different ways to set up customer rewards programs. Some point of sale systems have built-in rewards programs that make setup a breeze. If your POS system does not already have a loyalty program, there are a number of apps out there that you can set up for your customers. Make your customers feel valued and they will respond with increased sales and referrals. #3. Upsell Current Clients Referrals are huge. But referrals aren’t the only way you can boost your business from current clients. In fact, according to an American Express survey, 74% of customers said that they have spent more money with businesses who provide them with good customer service. If you have done your job well and made your customer feel valued, many are willing to reward you by spending more, either by buying more product or upgrading plans. If you are trying to increase sales, do not overlook the possibility of up-selling the customers you do have. After all, they are the ones who know your business the best and understand the value and quality of what you have to offer. There are a variety of ways you can upsell existing customers. Here are some of common ones: Offering Free Shipping For Spending Thresholds – Offer free shipping for orders over $50 or something like that. One survey found that 58% of shoppers add extra items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. Giving Discounts to Upgrade or Renew Plans – Running 20% off upgrades or plan renewals can be a great way to get more existing customer sales. BOGO – Buy one get one deals are classic upsell material. #4. Use Newsletters, Updates, and Promos to Help Customers Buy Into Your Business and Reactivate Previous Clients One of the key things for building customer support and loyalty for your business is to keep in-touch. The more informed and included your customers feel in your business, the more likely they are to buy-in and support you more themselves and talk you up to their friends and family. The best way to do this is through newsletters, updates, and promos. Get customers emails as soon as you can and ask if they would like to be included on your email list. Then, be consistent and send out regular updates and promos. This can lead to a big boost in sales, especially when you succeed in reactivating previous clients who have not bought from you in awhile. You can even craft custom email campaigns that are designed to reach previous clients. #5. Design and Implement an Effective Referral Program Although customers will refer you organically if you have treated them well, it never hurts to offer a little extra incentive for existing customers to refer you to friends, family, and other business owners. The easiest way to do this is to set up some kind of referral incentive program that rewards existing customers when they bring another customer on-board. Here are some traits that define successful referral programs: Ask for Referrals – Sometimes all you have to do is ask. A strong referral program can be a great way to drive new business. But don’t be pushy, and only ask once a customer has had experience with your business, not right up-front. Benefit Both The Existing Customer and the New Customer – Giving existing customers rewards can be enough incentive to get referrals. But if you add in benefits for the new customer as well, it’s a slam dunk. Who doesn’t like to get something free while helping out a friend? Give Some Referral Suggestions – Don’t make customers work too hard. Have some common referrals listed (ie. “Previous customers have referred: business owner friends, family, etc). Conclusion Don’t forget your existing customers. According to Bain and Company, a 5% increase in customer retention rate can increase profits by up to 125% and a 10% increase can result in up to a 30% increase in overall business value. So what are you waiting for? Take care of your customers and they will take care of you. That means staying on top of customer interactions, rewarding your most loyal customers, upselling and keeping in touch with your existing your customers, and implementing a referral program to grow your business. A business’s customers are arguably its most valuable resource, and the last thing a business owner would want to neglect. Images: “business man writing concept of quality, efficiency, service and reliability make happy customer / Shutterstock.com“ ________________________________________________________________________________ Tweak Your Biz is a thought leader global publication and online business community. 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