This post was written by Brian Lawrence, one of the industry’s foremost authorities on marketing in the wedding industry. Brian has consulted with many wedding professionals and wholesale suppliers at www.brianlawrence.com. Brian also owns Local Traffic Builder, a nationally-known web design, marketing and social media firm serving the wedding and event industry. He is the author of “The Wedding Expert’s Guide to Sales and Marketing” and “The Invitation Business Report” and has helped thousands of industry professionals with his marketing insights through personal consultation, books, seminars, blogs and articles, and speaking engagements at leading industry conferences.
How can you leave such a powerfully positive impression on your customers that they’ll later recommend you to someone else?
If you have an answer, then you have the strongest sales force possible: the satisfied customer who wants everyone to know just how satisfied he or she is. So, how do you develop the kind of relationship that will turn your customers into brand advocates? Below I share some of the best ways to develop a stronger relationship with your clients.
Keep your customers on your radar – even when they are no longer your customers. Send them anniversary cards, holiday cards, birthday cards, and most importantly, keep in touch. Keep them on your radar and they will keep you on theirs.
Show your customers you genuinely care by getting to know them. For example, how can you send a former client a birthday card if you don’t actually know her birth date? Getting to know your clients on a personal level makes them feel like they know something about you (you’re friendly, genuine and personable), and that gives them something to share with others about you.
Go beyond the wedding and see them for other aspects of their lives. Engage with your customers about the ups and downs of life. If a customer mentioned that a family member was ill, keep in touch with them and check in. Investing into the personally-important matters of your customers connects you to them holistically, which means it feels natural for them to share your business with others.
Find out what interests your customers beyond the services and/or products you provide. When you notice something like an article or a video clip that matches their interests, send it their way. Knowing what other interests your customers have can reveal a natural, easy way to connect and authentically inspire them to converse with you and about you.
But, remember: nothing generates more powerful referrals than actually satisfying your customers with effective customer service. How can you do this? Combine these two core components:
- Fear not the potential for your customers to be dissatisfied. If a problem arises, resolve it heroically. This can create one of the most enduringly positive impacts. How you handle a crisis or frustration is even more of a reflection of your business than an effortless sale. Studies show people are more likely to remember negative events than positive ones, so use this to your advantage. Customers will remember how considerately you handled even the worst of their potential situations, and that speaks volumes. By embracing dissatisfaction, it is an opportunity to show how much you care about your customers.
- Invite customers to share their experience with you by asking for reviews and testimonials. Success in the wedding industry is so often built on what your previous customers have to say about you. It would be a disservice to you (and to future potential customers) to not take advantage of the honest evaluations of your customers.
Customer satisfaction is important, so strive to provide the best experience for each client who walks through your door. By following these best practices, your past customers will promote your business for you and improve your reputation in the wedding industry.