In This Episode

Everyone loves something new and shiny!  Many of our small business clients refer to those bright shiny new objects as squirrels.  But while we’re all chasing these new shiny objects, we might just be missing something that’s right under our noses that can help grow our businesses.  Past customers.

Oops, did we just take all of the air out of your balloon?  Are those past customers not as exciting and energizing as all of those new potential customers?  Keep in mind these past customers are folks who have experienced your Products and Services in the past and they’ve parted ways with some of their hard earned funds to become your customers.  The question we addressed today is how often should you reach out to those past customers?

Like many things, we can often justify our behavior which includes making up reasons not to contact past customers.  But if you’re looking to grow your small business, there might be an untapped potential gold mine with your prior customers.  Here are some things to keep in mind when reaching out to those golden nuggets:

  • Add Value: be sure that when you’re reaching out to your prior customers that you’re conscious of delivering some value to them. The idea here isn’t to reach out to say, “Hey we know you haven’t bought from us in a while, but do you want to buy some of our stuff?”  Chances are that won’t be received in too positive of a light and won’t likely result in additional sales.  But if you’re focused on delivering some value to those past customers then they are more likely to receive your outreach warmly.  One example could be you have someone you’d like your past client to meet.  Perhaps it’s a provider of another Product or Service that you thought would benefit them.  Maybe it’s someone who’s looking for work and you think they’d be a good fit with your customer?  It could even be an article you came across that made you think of them.
  • Ask For Introductions: one of the best ways to grow any small business is through word of mouth and referrals. Who better to sing your praises than a past customer who has benefited from your Products and Services.  So instead of asking your past customer to buy more stuff from you, perhaps they know someone else who might benefit from getting to know you and your company.
  • Get Updated: it’s always nice to get updated with folks you haven’t spoken with in a while, especially ones you’ve done business with in the past. Be ready to provide them with some updates about you and your business since you’ve last spoken but don’t lead with that.  Start with asking them for updates on their end.  People always love it when you show a genuine interest in them.  This is also a great way for you to find ways you might be able to help them out.  If you’re always thinking about ways you can help them chances are you’ll have a great discussion and it can certainly lead to some good stuff in the future.

Whatever approach you take, reaching out to past customers is always a good thing to do on a regular basis.  And yes, some of those past customers might actually become current customers of yours again after you’ve spoken if you’ve left them with a warm fuzzy feeling about you and your business.  At the very least they’ll be thinking about ways they can help you as well.  And that’s really what it’s all about!

People, Companies and Resources We Mentioned in the Show