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Frequent contact…….the small business path to success….

A client last week had to postpone a meeting due to an air-conditioning failure at their home. She said she has gotten four bids so far and is trying to get two more before she decides. Since she had lived in the same home for many years I asked her when she replaced her unit last. Her answer was 14 years ago. I asked if she got a quote from the original installer and she said she did not remember who it was.

Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t see a value in keeping contact with past clients. A $7,000 air conditioning unit is a major expense and even if one is bought every 12 to 15 years, there is an opportunity to build up future business as well as a referral source.

I address this subject every two to three months. It is one of the major building blocks in growing a small business yet it is the one that is most frequently neglected. Perhaps the fact that there is no immediate gratification from sending out a newsletter, a thank you note or making a call, it is put aside as a “future to do”.

This is one of the basic “must do’s” that I emphasize to all my clients. If the business has been operating for more than one year, I ask for a list of all past clients (this does not apply to my retail clients, we have a separate contact system for their use) and together we put together a standard communication system to re-introduce the business.  The content and means of communications are many; it depends on the date of the last contact with these past customers.

Unbelievable as it sounds, this system for the most part, has provided, in most cases, a quick source of additional business, either from the same past customer or a referral from them.

Once the method, content and frequency of communication is decided, we set aside a period of time each week to make sure this marketing effort is up to date.  New names are added to this list weekly and over the course of a year it usually proves to be one of the most valuable marketing tools in a small business arsenal.

The secret to business success is doing what you don’t want to do but that you know must be done….

Nick J. Petra CFP    It’s coming………    more information about the new business support system will be shared in this column in the next two week.



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