Good Corporate Social Responsibility is no longer a nice-to-have. In fact, companies who want to grow MUST practice good Corporate Social Responsibility, aka, CSR. Those brands who don’t face losing sales.
Driven by millennials who prefer to do business with brands who have ethical and sustainable business standards, the recipe for sales and marketing success changed dramatically. So now, all generations have an increased expectation that companies who want to earn their business must practice sustainability. Is your brand adapting, or dying?
According to findings from the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study, “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average). Two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).” Because of these factors, companies not yet engaging in good corporate social responsibility are losing sales.
Practicing Good Corporate Social Responsibility Is Great for Business
“The whole corporate social responsibility ideal is trying to graft something onto the old profit maximization model. Now more than ever, we need is a transformation [in] the way we think about business, what it’s based on. People want businesses to do good in the world. It’s that simple…. We now need a deeper, fundamental reform in the essence of business.”
So, traditional advertising won’t work with Millennials. Conveying CSR efforts to Millennials requires authenticity, and a unique approach. Since Millennials grew up with the Internet, they want their voices heard. And they expect a two-way, open dialogue with companies and their brands.
Millennials and many of the customers from other generations want to buy from companies who give back. As a result, brands who want to attract more customers and keep existing ones need to have a good corporate social responsibility program.
Question: What is the source of highest profit sales? Most likely, it’s your current and past customers. Next question: What is your customer retention process?
You’ve already attracted these customers to your brand, built the know, like and trust factor and earned a purchase from them. You successfully converted a lead to a paying customer. And it cost you money to do that. Maybe a lot of money. How much less expensive is it to keep good customers than acquire new ones?
Download the free Lifetime Total Customer Value calculator soyou can get the maximum ROI from each customers this month.
In an article posted on Entreprenuer.com, Eric Sui said, “According to Bain & Company, it costs 7X more to attract new customers than it does to keep them. Additionally, if you retain just 5% of your customers annually, you can generate up to 125 percent more profits. Retention strategies truly pay off in the long run and help you build a sound business over time.”
I’ve outlined 13 keys you must have for your customer retention funnel to be effective so you can score more sales.
1. Make retention a top priority.
Prioritize the highest ROI activity your company does, which is most likely customer retention.
2. Measure life time value of customers.
Determine the life time value (LTV) of your average customers. The additional purchases, upgrades, replacements and referrals they send to you add up to a much bigger dollar amount than just the first purchase they make. Download this free LTV calculator here.
3. Provide amazing customer service
Have you noticed that even the cable companies want to “delight customers”? They finally get the importance of keeping current customers happy because it’s way less expensive to keep customers than to acquire new ones.
4. After the sale nurturing
Create a system for following up after the sale at regular intervals. Depending on your business, that may be a week after the sale or a month. Pay attention to how your customers are engaging with your brand, it’s product and services. Respond quickly to customers. Always. A good customer retention funnel has as process that everyone who touches the customers uses to continue nurturing the relationship after the sale. Continue delivering high value content and service and you’ll score more sales.
5. Budget for customer retention marketing
Since the ROI on keeping customers is so much higher than on acquiring new ones, it makes sense to assign some budget to marketing efforts aimed at retention.
Without a good CRM, your customers may be on the business end of an ill-timed phone call from an inside sales rep pitching an upsell, when that customer is currently threatening to leave if a dire problem isn’t solved. Not a good customer retention play.
Since the beginning of CRM time, having a 360 degree view of the customer so that companies could avoid this type of mistake has been the goal. You can’t manage an effective customer retention funnel without a good CRM.
7. Communicate frequently
Your customers want to feel valuable after they’ve spent money with you. Communicate with them frequently to show you care. Birthday greetings, holiday messages, news and updates are great ways to show them you care. Remember to only email customers who have opted into your email list.
8. Engage on social media
Social media is the equal opportunity soap box everyone can use to rave or complain about their experiences with a company. Monitor social media and quickly respond to any complaint. Also, quickly thank customers who sing your praises. You can also use social media to ask your customers about what’s important to them and nurture relationships.
9. Convert complaints into opportunities
Everyone remembers the companies that handle their complaints with such concern for making the situation gone wrong into an experience that feels right. It’s interesting that what’s memorable is how great it felt to the customer that the brand went above and beyond to solve the problem, and not what went wrong in the first place. Be a hero to your customers when they complain and watch that same customer become your advocate.
10. Create a customer loyalty program
Rewarding customers for their patronage is a great way to develop their loyalty. Provide added value, special promos or offers that your customers want. The rewards need to be easy to earn and redeem. Keep things simple. Score more sales by rewarding your current customers and nurturing them to send referrals.
11. Host an event
Show your customer appreciation by hosting an event. An open house, after hours event or guest lectures can provide powerful incentives for your customers to spend more time with your company. Having fun and feeling valued has a way of bonding people tighter together. Events work whether they are virtual, like a podcast or live, like an open office social gathering.
12. Corporate social responsibility
Many customers choose to buy from brands that give back over brands that don’t. If your company already has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, share progress and successes with your customers. If not, get one. Select a cause that is consistent with your brand and aligns with your customers’ values and interests.
13. Upsell and resell
Since you’re paying attention to how your customers are using the products or services they purchased from your company, you’ll know what’s important to them. When the time is right, offer and upgrade or replacement product that has high value and will help your customer achieve their goals.
Email marketing with calls to action and free demos or trials, just like regular marketing campaigns. Incent the customer to try new add ons, upgrades and eventually replacement purchases, in some industries.
Part 1 of 5 in the RAISE Sales System blog post series for entrepreneur success.
Are you an entrepreneur who struggles with sales? If so, you’re not alone. Entrepreneur success requires strong sales skills and this struggle is a common problem that many business owners have. Entrepreneurs wear a lot of different hats and for most, selling isn’t their strongest skillset.
One of the secrets to entrepreneur success is knowing how to ask for and close the sale. In this 5 part blog series, I’m going to share my signature sales system, RAISE. I created this 5-step strategy RAISE from my 25+ years of experience across multiple industries and teach it in workshops and when doing sales coaching with clients. This is the sales process entrepreneurs and sales professionals use for dramatically increasing sales.
RAISE is the word that is spelled out by the first letter of each of the steps in the system. This post is about the first step and each post in this series will reveal subsequent steps in the RAISE system.
The R in RAISE is for respect and I love starting with respect because this is where a relationship building begins. This is where developing the know, like and trust factors starts, so you can advance to asking for the sale.
Entrepreneur success secret #1 is Respect
You can’t close the sale if you’re no longer in the conversation. Respecting the prospect will keep you in the conversation longer than asking for the sale before they are ready to buy.
First of all, respecting where the customer actually is, and not where you wish they were in the buying process is vital to entrepreneurs success. It’s super essential to be aware of where your prospect is where their heads at what they care about where they are in the sales or buying process.
Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason
One example is at a networking event or a party. You have connected with somebody and they did most of talking, while you do a lot of listening. At the end of the conversation, they say, “You’re a great conversationalist!” And you think to yourself, “I said so very little and you did all the talking!” There’s a reason people say we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason:-)
Why is it that the person who did the listening is a great conversationalist? Because human beings love to feel heard. When we show consideration for people and actively listen to them, they FEEL respected and valued. Plus, we find out what is important to them and that knowledge fuels our own entrepreneur success. All of this goodness also allows us to build the know, like and trust factors.
Success Story Using Respect to Sell
Now I’ll share with you an example of how amazing the Respect step is for entrepreneurs to succeed. In the late 80s, I sold construction equipment in Florida, working for the only companies in the country that had female sales. I was calling on construction sites throughout Southwest Florida and I wasn’t always welcomed. One general contractor was using the old-style, less cost effective and more dangerous scaffolding on a project that was a prime candidate for using a boomlift. He wasn’t interested in hearing about a new technology solution from a woman who he perceived didn’t know anything about construction.
How I Cracked the Tough Prospect
If I was going to have any shot at selling this customer a boomlift, I knew I needed to get creative. I realized I needed to respect where he was, no where I wanted him to be.
Since I knew he felt competent as a general contractor, I asked him about the project. He was happy to talk about it. After listening, I offered to deliver the boomlift the next day at no charge to him. If at the end of the day, he found the equipment effective, he could keep it and pay only for the rental for the rest of the time he used it. If not, I’d pick it up and charge him nothing. No risk for him.
When I called this customer at the end of the day, he told me I could leave the boomlift. I had the sale without ever asking for it. What is important to know, is that I respected where this customer this prospect was and stayed in the conversation. When building a relationship with a prospect, starting with respecting where they are and what they value is the best first step. R is for Respect and entrepreneur success depends upon it.
How to get social media focus – We are faced with endless options for posting on several social platforms.
Easier said than done, right? Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed by social media sometimes. It’s SUPER common!
There’s so much we CAN do on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn (to name a few social platforms) that entrepreneurs can feel paralyzed, like a deer in the headlights. How do we get social media focus? Building a network of referral partners is one smart use of social media.
Just because we CAN do it, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do it. The key is social media focus. I like to use lists to visualize and prioritize my tasks. Whether you like lists, graphics or some other way to organize your “To Dos”, I highly recommend you do that so you can get clarity on what social media activity is most important for driving growth for your business. What’s the one thing you can do that will attract more customers today?
I’ll give you some help. You’ve heard it said often that brands need to deliver value with their content. That’s true, no matter what form the content takes. Social media is included. Entertain, inform or do both is the content marketing credo.Since the goal of content is to build the know-like-trust factor, I suggest you run each post you’re considering through that filter.
Does the social post help audiences to know, like and trust you? If so, is the content valuable and/of entertaining.
My suggestion is to put all of your social media focus on post ideas. Look through these filters and then you’ll have a short list of good branding, rapport-building and value-adding content. Once you have the short list, review it to determine which social post is most likely to attract new clients. That’s the one to post.
Declutter your mind and calendar by focusing only on this one post. Use your favorite social media management app (I use Hootsuite) to optimize when you post on each social platform. Remember to answer questions and like and reply to comments to get the most mileage out of your post too.