By Nicole Attias
Some brands work so hard to establish new business relationships they often forget their pre-existing clients.
Prospecting all relationships is the fuel for all sales. Imagine what happens to a stunning car if it is not maintained properly—it will fall apart. If one moves onto the next deal or project without taking the time to stay in touch with established customers, the franchise is at risk of facing a decline in customers.
Prospecting new leads fills the funnel; however, taking care of current relationships enhances a franchise’s entire performance. Both are imperative for the livelihood of one’s business.
The following are five tips for maintaining a great rapport with consumers.
Similar to scheduling a meeting with a new prospect, franchisees should do the same practice with established clients. Business competitors will be quick to entice customers who feel neglected, so it is important to stay connected with consumers and engage in open dialogue at all times.
Franchisees can inquire about a customer’s overall experience in dealing with the brand, while being mindful to listen carefully. For instance, a franchise owner who operates a chain of restaurants can call a guest to update them on the latest menu. Over time, these types of engagements can create a great rapport between the franchisee and prospect.
Request their feedback
Having customers complete a short questionnaire is a great way to maintain a relationship. It should be no longer than a page in length, with a simple rating system that ranges from one to 10. Sample questions could include, “How likely is it that you would recommend our restaurant to a friend?” or “Rate this eatery’s service.” As an incentive, offer a chance to win a complimentary dining experience at a chosen restaurant once the survey is submitted. Keep the queries interesting and concise to encourage feedback; such information will be useful for future calls.
Send out quarterly updates
Newsletters are a great way to stay in touch as it can provide updates on the foodservice industry. Further, one can phone clients to schedule a complimentary lunch or coffee meeting to convey information—these gestures show customers their value to the brand. This context also allows one to relax outside their typical work environment.
Tell memorable stories
Be open, but use discretion when communicating with the general public. Share stories people can relate to such as raising children, traffic, or details of a last vacation. The key is to make the account relevant to an objective.
A franchisee should think about what emotion they are trying to evoke from the consumer. That said, an example of a goal is to create an icebreaker to help customers laugh and relax. Anecdotes differentiate from normal conversation and advertisers know this is the best way to capture attention and develop connections to specific people or products.
Make the customer feel important
Remembering relevant dates such as birthdays, anniversaries, children’s graduations, or anything else mentioned in passing conversation is important. That said, with such information franchisees should respond to people accordingly. Send cards, small gifts, and use the phone to stay in touch. Seemingly small gestures will stay in clients’ minds. The more one knows about their customers, the better. Efforts placed in finding consumers’ diverse interests, requirements, or desires will help owners to establish a connection. In some cases, if things do not go as planned with a transaction, picking up the phone can help remedy a situation.
Client relationships require an effort on the franchisee’s part. Companies work hard to acquire new business, but often fail to devote equal if not more attention in maintaining regular contact with established customers.
Businesses need to be proactive to avoid neglecting their guests. Competitors will use such opportunities to engage with consumers who maybe more willing to work with a new franchise. In contrast, content customers talk to many people, which could lead to referrals for the franchisee.
Nicole Attias has extensive business development experience—be it cold calling or networking in commercial real estate. Her skills include article and business writing, delivering presentations, sales coaching, and cold call script writing. Attias can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.prospect2win.com.