An area many businesses fail to recognise as a way to increase profits is by utilising their existing customers. Don't view each sale as a "one-off". Look to build a long term relationship with your customers and entice them to keep coming back.
In order for that relationship to be cultivated properly, you will need to have some method of keeping in touch with your customers on a regular basis. For this to be possible you will require some personal information about them.
How to get your customers details without making them feel pressured.
We have all been in a shop where a pushy salesperson has fallen just short of demanding our name, address and telephone number. When you have simply bought a pair of shoes you are bound to feel that this information is unnecessary. The shoes don't come with a special guarantee and are unlikely to need a 500 mile service, so there is no obvious reason for you to provide your life history.
There are two things at fault here. The first is the amount of information being requested. Most people have an email address and that is sufficient to maintain contact. Even asking for a first name is not necessary as correspondence can be sent to "Dear Customer". DO NOT take any details from the customer's payment card or cheque as this will rightly be viewed as an invasion of privacy and will do much more harm than good. It may even leave you open to legal action.
The second stumbling block is poorly trained staff. Staff should know why they are asking the customer for this information and be able to explain that clearly to the purchaser.
A sample sales line could be: Our Company is sending out a monthly newsletter which includes fashion tips, seasonal offers and "Money-off" coupons for subscribers. All we need from you is your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time you want.
Nice and low-key. You have to make it easy for your customers to say "No" without feeling pressured or embarrassed.
Another method to increase profits can be used at the point of sale. As an example, let's say you are selling potted plants. Your customer is at the checkout with their fresh, flourishing houseplant. What else could you offer to sell them in order to compliment this purchase? A book on how to look after house plants, an attractive ceramic pot to display the plant to better effect, plant food to keep the plant healthy? You might even find that the add-ons are of higher value than the original sale.
If you view your customers as more than just a single sale you will begin to attract more custom from the same people that use your business. A simple way to increase profits and reduce advertising costs.
Allan Cowley is a Life Coach working with clients throughout the world. He provides online coaching in self improvement, goal setting, time management and small business development. For a free online life assessment with no obligations, you can contact Allan on his website at: http://www.uk-success-coach.com/