HARDISON’S TIPS – APRIL 15, 2021 – ON BEING THE BEST IN THE OFFICE EQUIPMENT ARENA -1
It’s often said that it costs at least 5 times as much to find and acquire a new customer than it does to keep an old one.
The figure must be much higher, however, in the office supplies industry; orders are usually in high quantities, which means, for example, that a small price change from 9 pence to 8 can see huge savings for a company. This in turn makes loyalty about as cheap as a pack of 100 biros.
Luckily for all the office supplies salespeople out there, this is a problem that can be solved.
Sales in the industry doesn’t have to be the same old tug of war between getting new customers and keeping old ones.
1. Strengthen the bond
Sometimes, you should see cross-selling as a tool to build loyalty and protect your market share as much as to boost sales. In fact, cross-selling can be a great tactic for boosting customer loyalty, particularly in the office supplies industry.
I recently wrote an article on cross-selling and how to implement the tactic into your business.
Say, for example, one of your customer’s orders has been slowing down over the last few months. You can quickly nip this in the bud by making them a cross-sell offer that’s too good to turn down.
The reason that this strategy is so good in the office supplies industry is that there are so many strong, complementary cross-sells that can be made, as large quantities of all sorts of products are made on a monthly basis.
“Purchase X amount of ink and we’ll give you X amount of paper at a discount.”
Even if they see the ink on sale one month with one of your competitors, they know that taking their business elsewhere means they’ll lose the great deal on paper that they get from you.
Even if you don’t make anywhere near as much on the paper, for example, as you may usually, this ‘loss leader’ tactic will mean you keep selling the more expensive product for longer, making you much more in the long run.
This tactic is also great for boosting loyalty because it shows a customer that you actually think about them and understand their business.
2. Touch base
One great way to boost loyalty with existing customers is to have your marketing department send out newsletters from each of the salespeople in your team, going to each of the accounts they look after.
Doing this every month, with a small, personal paragraph written by the relevant salesperson at the start and monthly offers throughout the email is a great way to keep in touch with your customer base.
Even if (as it would need to be) the email is sent out in bulk through an email marketing system, sending a personal paragraph about some of “my best deals this month” directly to the customer, which addresses them by their first name, will make them feel valued at the very least.
This sort of monthly tactic acts, if nothing else, acts as a touch point so that your customers remember who they buy their office products from each month.
3 .Be a person, not just a tweet
It’s great that your company has a Twitter account; it’s a vital tool for keeping people in the know about who your company is.
Many companies, however, think that Twitter and other social outlets are replacements for real conversation, but they’re not, they’re complementary.
When used correctly, the combination of social updates and real conversation can be used to great effect. But you can’t assume that your customers have seen your newest product or latest deal online; they’re probably too busy to have.