1. Answer in advance. Make a list of the 101 most frequently asked questions your customers. Write a short answer for each one (no more than one paragraph). Then give away that little booklet FOR FREE to every single person who walks in your door. (You could also make this into a CD, audiocassette or podcast.)
2. Use magic. Write letters, thank you notes and proposals to your clients on paper that changes color when you touch it. Everyone in their entire office will see it and talk about it.
3. Send it back. Take a prospect’s business card, scan it, blow it up, make it into a small pack of postcards, luggage tags or notepads, and then send it to him. This appeals to someone’s ego AND helps him build HIS business as well.
4. Gift Certificates. Mock up gift cards, gift certificates or “Dave Dollars,” for example, that you could us as giveaways to get new customers into your funnel. Offer 15-minute consultations, a free oil change, a free appetizer, etc. Then, when they come in once, WOW them. They’ll come back forever.
5. Added value. What if you included a little 10 tips laminated card with every purchase? For example, dry cleaners could include ideas for fall fashion and emergency stain removal. Just staple it to the receipt. Or better yet, MAKE IT the receipt!
6. Encourage repeat business. What other days of the year will customers probably need your product or service? What if, every time someone bought something from you, you included a calendar with your logo on all of the potential dates on which they would need you? Father’s Day? Valentines Day? Secretary’s Day?
7. “Celebritize” your customers. Have a featured “customer of the week” on your website. Interview him, plug HIS business and show a picture of him USING your product or service. He’ll take ownership and tell everybody he knows.
8. Banners. If you only see a few clients a day, what if you hung up a new banner, welcome sign or dry erase board for each person? Talk about a first impression! Or, what if all your employees wore nametags reading, “Welcome, Dave!”
9. Customer Advisory Board. What if, once a quarter, you invited an elite group of your biggest customers out to lunch? Form an official Customer Advisory Board. Get feedback on trends in their industries, along with tips on how to serve them better.
10. Tours. Airplane pilots often invite children into the cockpit for a tour. Then they give them official wings to pin onto their shirt. What if you held a tour of your warehouse or control room? And what if, after each tour, you had a little pin or sticker to give to each customer? Crown Candy, the greatest restaurant in St. Louis, has been doing this for decades. (Except instead of pilot’s wings, you get licorice. Sweet.)
11. As long as I’m here. What else could you do as a free add-on to your service? For example, if you provided on-site tech support, maybe you could also clean people’s computer screens or towers! No extra charge = mo’ extra value.
12. Now that you’re here. When your customers walk IN the door, what welcome gift could you offer that’s consistent with your brand? I once stayed at a hotel in Hawaii. When I approached the desk, a stunning woman wearing a native Hawaiian dress and a flower in her hair offered me free glass of freshly squeezed pineapple juice. Aloha, indeed!
13. Wait, before you go! When your customers walk OUT the door, what “until next time” gift could you offer that’s consistent with your brand? A few years ago I ate lunch at a grill in Chicago. Beside the door was a tub of cold bottles of ice water (with their logo on the labels) along with a homemade oatmeal cookie for my walk back across town. Unbelievable!
14. Signing bonuses. Once the contract is signed, what congratulatory gift could you offer that compliments your service? My realtor gave me a $100 gift certificate to Pottery Barn after I closed on my condo. I told everybody about it! Other examples: car salesmen could offer car wash coupons, clothing stores could offer free lint brushes, kennels could offer free milk bones or shoe salesmen could offer free lotion. The possibilities are endless!
15. Solve problems you didn’t create. What problems do your customers have (before they see you) that you didn’t cause? For example, if you work at a hotel, you probably encounter many guests who lose their luggage. What if the front desk had a book of gift certificates to a nearby clothing store that they could give to desperate guests? You could say, “Just tell the guys at Men’s Warehouse that Gary from the Fairmount sent ya. They’ll fix you right up!” Imagine the impression! Imagine the loyalty! And the increase in return visits will massively outweigh the cost of the gift certificates. Not to mention, it builds a mutually valuable relationship between you and the other company.
16. Make personalization easy. What can you include in your service to make the customer feel more at home? A hotel I once stayed at had iPod alarm clocks in every room so guests could wake up to their favorite songs. Rock on!
17. Donate en masse. At what gathering, event or conference could you donate your services to get in front of hundreds of buyers at once? At a recent book expo, I noticed three massage chairs positioned by the escalators for attendees with aching feet and backs. Think they “booked” any future business?
18. Remember your non-customers. What types of “poor suckers” do your customers drag around that don’t want to be there? Kids? Men? Women? What could you make available to keep them busy while the other person shops? Years ago while my girlfriend was shopping at EXPRESS, I noticed a stack of MAXIM magazines by the dressing room, right next to The Boyfriend Chair. Reading them sure made the time go by quickly!
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