When meeting a client for their first business coaching session, I immediately establish who exactly their customers are. Unfortunately, this is an area in which many small businesses are lacking and are therefore in need of some business coaching. They simply do not know who their customers are. Or, if they do, they have no easy way to contact them. So to start, check your customer database to make sure that, for all current and previous customers, you have their:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Email address(es)
  • Purchasing history

You also may want to record the following:

  • The reason the customer contacted you in the first place
  • Ads or marketing promotions that the customer has responded to
  • Any other comments the customer has made.

Collecting Your Customers’ Contact Information

Of the information listed above, your customers’ contact information—especially their email addresses—are among the most important. Why? Because you can’t follow up with both current and former customers unless you have a way to reach them. And you can’t reach them if you do not possess accurate contact information for them, including information for low-cost contact methods like email.

Fortunately, even if you haven’t started collecting the names and contact information for customers, you can begin doing so right away—using techniques that require little or no cash outlay. These techniques include:

Just asking them.

One of the fastest ways to accumulate customer names and to user them to generate quick, no-cost sales is to simply ask for their name and email address — either at the time or purchase or when they call in — and then send them pre-written special offers via email that same day. If this makes you nervous, business coaching can show you different ways of doing this.

Requiring it.

Many customers will not want to provide their email address because they do not want to receive still more unsolicited email than they already do. You may be able to overcome this objection by stating that your service or billing policies require an email address and then given an honest reason, such as to alert them to account or policy changes or to inform them of special sales or offers.

Providing something of value that costs nothing to produce.

Another way to collect email addresses (one popular in business coaching circles due to its effectiveness) is to provide value to the customer in exchange for this information. For instance, as suggested above, let customers know that you will be supplying them with monthly coupons or new product announcements. Not only will your customers appreciate these reminders and savings, but you will probably generate many more sales as a result.

Offering something of value that only a few customers can receive.

Contests and promotions are a great way of collecting email addresses and other contact information because everyone likes to win a prize. However, if you take this approach, make sure you follow your state’s contest and sweepstakes rules.

Offering something free that costs nothing to deliver.

For certain groups of potential customers (particularly, professional-service customers), you can capture email addresses and other contact information by offering things of value that may take time or money to produce, but that cost nothing to deliver. Examples of such items are free reports or market analyses, free evaluations, or free consultations.

Be sure to stay tuned for more expert business coaching tips!

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