Christmas, as we all know, is a time of giving so it’s time to show your clients and suppliers how much you appreciate them.
You won’t want to thank them all in the same way. After all, you will have done more business with some than others, while there will be a few who deserve something a little bit special.
Here are our favourite ways to say, “thank you” to our clients and suppliers:
A small gift basket filled with gourmet treats and a special message that refeclects their relationship with you.
A bottle of wine that has a story or message.
A gift voucher to a special experience (wine tasting, Bridge Club.)
A good quality A4 writing book with a message to develop and grow ideas for their business and personal life.
A subscription to an online service such as Spotify or Netflix.
A monthly magazine subscription that will remind them of you every time they receive it.
No matter what you decide, make sure your accompanying card contains a handwritten, personalised note. Nothing screams “we don’t really care” more than a card filled with staff signatures and nothing more.
2016 has been a full-on year. Many industries have been pushed and pulled in faster and stronger ways, which has resulted in some top performances. Those teams will be looking forward to a well-deserved break!
But while you are kicking back on the beach or lazing beside the pool, have a think about your year and whether it lived up to expectations. Doing this is important for getting a good head start on 2017.
Here are 10 things to consider:
Are you happy and satisfied with 2016?
Did your business grow its market share and volume of sales compared with market volume?
What were the successes you and your team achieved in 2016? Write a list.
How did your staff perform? Consider each person individually, and compare the goals you had for them with their actual achievement.
Have you created the right structure to allow your team to flourish?
Where can you find new clients in 2017?
At this same time next year, what would you like to have seen changed or improved?
Would a regular training or coaching plan help your sales team in 2017?
Would having a mentor help your business grow faster next year?
What resources might your business require for growth in 2017?
Here are the top 5 things you can do to help develop your database.
Update all the contact information you currently hold for everyone on your database. Of these, their email address and phone number (now most commonly their mobile) are the most important as this is most likely how you will stay in touch with them.
Grow your list. Add new prospects, people who may be interested in what you have to offer. The more people you communicate with, the more you will be able to turn prospects into customers.
Learn how to make the most of your existing systems so they can do tasks which would take you hours manually. Many simple tasks can be automated nowadays through the existing software on our computers, so find out what yours can do to save you time and money.
Uncover the gaps in your systems. What do you want or need to do (or your competitors are already doing) that your current system can’t? Use the upcoming holiday downtime to research new systems or software that you can install and have up and running by the time the new year kicks in.
Spend some time looking at what other people in your industry are doing. Are they using Adwords, Facebook adverts or other forms of online advertising to bring in new business? Are they using their Facebook business pages or their LinkedIn profiles to improve their credibility and get noticed? There are many more online opportunities than most of us realise so take some time to look at what’s available so you can make use of them in 2017!
One of the main benefits of a CRM system is that it can help you maintain contact with your customers and prospects.
We all know we need to be in touch with our customers on a regular basis but it is often a task that gets put on the back-burner, especially when we are busy. But it is very important if you want to uncover the goldmine hiding in your database, and turn your prospects into customers.
One way to ensure that you actually achieve your communications objectives is to put together a plan for 12-months ahead. It can be as simple as detailing the communication to be sent out and the contacts to be made, such as personal phone calling. Decide how you are going to communicate with your clients – phone, email, newsletter etc – and determine how often. (Read our guest blog below for more on this.)
When planning your communications, think about the resources you have at your disposal and what you will need to buy in. For example, do you believe you can competently write, design and deliver a newsletter using MailChimp? If not, you will need help. Factor the time and the cost of what you are doing into your planning.
Creating a plan is a key task at the beginning of each year so you have a clear outline of what you will be doing to contact and keep in touch with your network of clients and potential clients.
You may not realise it but within your business lies an untapped goldmine. This goldmine is your database. Are you exploiting it to its full potential?
Most businesses do not and that means they are leaving money on the table. Money that is likely going to their competitors.
Don’t let that be you!
While your database may be one of your biggest assets, in order to turn the static information it contains into a goldmine, you need a customer relationship management system or CRM.
Think of it is like this: your database is a record of your past transactions while a customer relationship management system is a tool to develop your future business.
A CRM will help you grow your business by building in-depth relationships with your customers. It is a system of tools, technologies and procedures – available as a software program – for managing, improving or facilitating sales and other interactions with customers, prospects and business partners.
Many businesses have a database of their past transactions but do not look toward the future by putting in place a customer relationship or contact management system.
So, a good plan for this month, especially this time of year, is to spend time developing a CRM.
There are many software systems available but before you sign up for one it is very important to first identify what you need your system to do. Only then should you research the different options to find the right one that meets your highest number of needs.
To find the right one, ask your business contacts what they use and do some online research. Check out the negative reviews as well as the positive ones so you can find out what the pitfalls are before you commit.