If you are doing business right, your old customers will be there again

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networking imageBernie Heer reminds us in this post, The Quickest Way to Get New Jobs, about the oldest and most obvious fact of life in marketing in the architectural, engineering and construction community: Most of your business (if you are doing things right) will arise from repeat and referral clients.

His suggestion, if you need to find some new business: Develop an offer for your old customers.

Go to your customer list and segment the people who had work done over two years ago. These customers are the most likely to have another job for you to do.

Put together an offer and make it available only for these customers AND their friends, family members, and neighbors. Making the offer exclusive is an important piece of the puzzle.

Now, if you know me, you know that I’m not in favor of discounting your services… I prefer that you “pile on” extras, especially the kind that customers perceive as high-value but don’t cost you a bundle to deliver.

Make sure you use the principles of creating a strong ad:

• Have a headline
• Make an irresistible offer
• Have a deadline
• Make it unique – avoid the “me-too” look
• Talk about benefits to the prospect
• Avoid multiple objectives
• Include testimonials
• Use the kind of language you use when talking to a friend
• Use media that prospects will pay attention to.

If you don’t have a database of prior customers, you really need to start collecting this information as soon as possible. If you have old invoices or records of any kind, it would be very worthwhile to use these sources to put together as complete a list as you can, and then get your offer in their hands.

There you have it… the quickest way to generate new jobs.

Of course, before you go there, you need old customers and you need to treat them well — if possibly so well that they are not just happy; they are enthusiastic about the experience of doing business with you.

But this process need not be expensive, cash-wise. And I would argue that reallocating a portion of the funds you would apply for external marketing will have a disproportionate increase in effectiveness if you spend it on making your clients (and employees and contractors) really happy to work with you.

(This advice may be counter-intuitive for me to offer — after all, our business sells advertising to earn most of its income. Fortunately, there is a place for external marketing to prime the pump and add some diversity and stability to your lead generation processes.)

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