Having a direct selling business (aka network marketing, mlm, affiliate marketing, etc.) can be very rewarding. But you can also lose a ton of money and even frustrate yourself if you fail to do a few simple things.
Unfortunately, most direct sellers drop the ball and end up leaving tons of potential for reorders on the table because they are not taking care of the customers they have worked hard to acquire.
The good news is you can end the frustration in your business and put yourself on a path of making more money and keep your customers coming back so they are ordering month after month after month. In this article, you will learn 7 simple steps you can take to add value to your local market customer’s buying experience, so they become a customer that consistently buys products and services from you.
While these steps may seem simple, they are often overlooked by most marketers. Your key to greater growth and profits, especially long term residuals from reordering customers, is to master the consistent application of the following value adding steps. Do this and you will have a strong competitive advantage over your competition.
1. Understand Your Customer’s Wants and Needs
Your prospect will buy for their reasons and not yours. They will also buy from people they know, like, and trust. These facts do not mean that you can’t sell to strangers, but what it does mean is you have to get to know your prospects before they will make a commitment to become a customer.
A major mistake most marketers make when working with prospects is they fail to identify the true wants and needs of that person. The secret to reveal such information requires effective communication. This means asking the right questions and listening to what is said.
In today’s economy, having a good product at a fair price is not enough. Your product also has to be best, the fastest, the nicest, and the easiest to use. There’s a real market for premium products, even in a struggling economy.
Part of making your whole product a premium, which includes the physical product, you, and your service to the customer, is to make sure your product meets the wants and needs of your prospect. If it does not, do not sell it to them, not even at bargain price.
2. Do Not Compete on Price
Competing on price can kill your profits and your business. While prices should be fair, be careful not to fall into discounting your prices just to get the sale. The facts prove that if your price is too low, people wonder why you are charging that tiny amount. Low bargain bin prices often create an image of junk.
Remember that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. They will pay a fair price. The key is in your ability and skills to present value to your customer. Never price yourself so low that you cause your customer to think, “what’s the catch?”
By offering a higher price, you are instantly creating less skepticism in the mind of your prospect. Now do not misunderstand what is being said here and price too high. Your price must be reasonably fair. Make sure your customer understands the uniqueness of what you offer and never compete on price. Set your price fairly and compete on a level of value. This does not mean not to provide discounts or rewards, but do not make pricing your primary competitive position in your strategy to acquiring customers.
3. Stand Behind What You Sell with a Strong Guarantee
Make sure you offer a guarantee to your customers. I see too many direct sellers sell with a clearance no return no refund policy. Having such a policy can prevent you from acquiring the customers you could have if you have a guarantee. Also make your guarantee a no-hassle policy.
Keep in mind, customers are picky and want value, meaning products and services that work as you describe they would work. Even if you were selling a plant stand, make sure the product meets your own standards on quality. And never sell junk.
When considering the guarantee you offer your customer, do not be afraid to offer a strong guarantee. As an example, in my business we publish our own how-to products for direct sellers. These products are written and produced with our company as the publisher and we stand behind our products with a strong guarantee.
We further believe that any product we sell to our customers must also carry a guarantee. When we sell books or CDs authored by others, we will offer a 180 day guarantee, even if the authors themselves offer no guarantee. We do this because we believe in what we offer and will only offer products that are high quality in content.
If you are offering a guarantee that your company does not offer, or if the guarantee is on top of what your company offers, make sure to point out that added value to your customer. This will help build trust and confidence in you. Reduce the risk in your customer’s mind by offering a strong guarantee.
4. Present Your Prospect with Buying Choices
Whether you are offering a high ticket item or multiple small items, you must offer your prospects and customers options. You could offer to spread payments out into an easy payment plan, or a lower priced benefit if the product is pre-paid (i.e. a membership site that offers a lump sum that gives access for three months, six months or even a year).
Regardless of the options you offer, make sure you do not confuse or overwhelm your prospect with too many options. Keep it simple. A very simple payment option is to accept major credit cards as a form of payment.
Your sale process for acquiring new customers in your local market and for keeping those customers coming back for more is accomplished more effectively when you effectively answer their questions, squashing their fears or challenging thoughts they may come up with in their minds for not buying your product. You will not succeed by selling someone on something and then they find out they don’t have the payment option they want.
5. Follow-Up and Follow-Through
Never ever, no matter what you do ignore the people that have purchased from you before. Understand that building a solid local customer base is based on relationships. To nurture these relationships, you must stay in constant contact with your customers.
You can use your follow-up time to better understand your customer’s wants and needs. You can get a testimonial on their experience of using your products or even secure some referrals to expand your local market customer base. The bottom line is your customers must know you care.
6. Reward Your Customers
Customers are a great source of your residual earnings, meaning money that comes in month after month. In addition to understanding what your customers want and need, they also want to feel important. The importance of making your customers feel important will drive up your sales results. Whether through a customer priority service program or unexpected bonus rewards, it is not hard to come up with ways to reward your customers.
Never forget that it is more cost effective to get a customer to reorder or to purchase other products than it is to acquire a new customer. These people are the most important of all. They have already bought your products. This means they are more willing to spend money buying from you.
Of course, to get your local market customers coming back to buy more, they must know, like, and trust you. This is accomplished only through nurturing those customer relationships. Taking care of your customers and rewarding them will make them feel important, which nurtures the relationship, will cause them to want to continue to do business with you.
7. Invest in Your Customers and They Will Invest in You
Never be afraid of offering trials or samples. Whether free, paid, or even a reduce payment as a way to sample your products and services. This is an investment because you are often cutting into your profit.
Now do not misunderstand the use of trials and samples with what I said earlier about not competing on price. The fact is people are skeptical by nature and trials and samples allow for the prospect to become your customer in an easy low risk way.
You will want to avoid free trials unless you’re aiming for lead generation. The problem with free trials is that you’ll attract all sorts of freebie seekers, and I’m sure you don’t want people wasting your time, taking up valuable resources and just picking something up because it’s free. But in a lead generation tactic, you are exchanging value for value (your free sample for their contact information).
A critical lesson I learned many years ago was that you must give before you receive, meaning you must invest in your prospects and customers before they will invest in you. This does not always mean free samples or trail discounts; it can many times mean you investing your time to better understand your prospects and customers.
While you may have similar products and services to others in the marketplace, there is nowhere else they can get the uniqueness of you. As you develop your customer base in your local market, be sure to implement the above 7 steps for adding value. And never lose sight of the fact that you can create a massive competitive advantage in your local marketing effort by doing these things consistently.