How to keep your ‘gold’ customers

A wise person once said, “There are three kinds of people in the world: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who don’t know anything’s happening.” Business mentors whom I respect and admire are in the first category. They’re the movers and shakers who make things happen in their industries, in their communities, and in their personal lives. They make it their business to know what’s going on around them, and they stay alert to new trends.

I’ve noticed that these people associate with other successful visionaries and possibility thinkers, and their get-togethers often include an exchange of ideas for growth and improvement. These folks could be described as a “mastermind group” … a kind of brain trust that helps others make things happen.

One of my sales expert friends sends a monthly ezine with information about new products and new business processes — along with good news about her existing clients — to everyone on her prospect list. Not only does this get her accolades and referrals from her featured clients, it also shows prospects that she is always ready to keep clients well informed so they can make good buying decisions.

Sales experts have always said that it costs anywhere from five to 10 times more to attract, cultivate, and secure new business than it does to keep old clients happy and returning for more, so while prospecting for new customers, one should remember the old saying that “a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush.” Since it costs much more to find new customers than to keep existing customers, we should spend time showing current clients how much we appreciate their continuing business.

Another marketing expert friend who works for a large and profitable company says that his main focus is on cultivating and retaining his “gold” customers — the ones who are most valuable to his company. He concentrates on making them feel special so they won’t even consider switching vendors.

He makes sure that his sales team keeps customers informed during every step of the buying process, including during order acknowledgements, progress reports on order statuses, and delivery notifications. He uses a database to remember every customer’s birthday and other special occasions. He sends a personal, handwritten thank-you note after each and every sale. He stays on top of any change in his customers’ buying habits and keeps an eye on his competition to make sure his company is always in the lead.



This same marketing expert told me that you should always build an unbeatable bundle of products and services so your customers can get exactly what they want and need without having to visit another vendor, and that you should offer incentives whenever and wherever possible.

Each of the winning experts I spoke with told me that a company that stands behind its work and products — so that both prospects and existing customers know they can trust things to be good — will have an easy time attracting new business and hanging onto current customers.

One of the most important things I’ve learned from these wise folks is that in order to find and keep customers, a business has to be totally dedicated to superior customer service.

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