Love your clients this Valentine’s Day
Finding ways to stay in touch with your clients between sales is an ongoing challenge for any sales-oriented business and a travel agency, home-based or storefront, is no different.
Most of us probably send out “holiday” greetings in December that get lost in the flood of other greeting cards and let it go at that.
Master car salesman, Joe Girardi, became famous and built a second career as a sales trainer by (among other things) being better than anyone at keeping his name in front of clients. This in a business where people might make a new purchase only every three, four, five, or more years.
Not only did Girardi send Christmas cards, but he sent birthday cards (to husband, wife, and kiddies) and anniversary notes. And he hand addressed every last one of them. Actually, sometimes he cheated and had his kids do that!
Of course, sending cards was just one of Girardi’s tactics and I’m not suggesting that you make this your sole marketing strategy. Girardi was also a wizard at customer service — he would run interference for this customers with the service department among other things — and you should be, too.
Still, finding ways to remind your customers that you exist and are thinking of them is a low-tech, low-cost strategy that you should consider making a regular part of your marketing mix.
Sheer volume, a la Girardi, is one way to go, but it is just as important to stand out from the crowd.
That’s why Valentine’s Day came to mind. Why not take the time to tell you best customers that you love them? You do don’t you? And the best part is that you will probably be the only sales professional who does this.
You could send a store-bought card, but consider the benefits of designing one specifically for your target market. You can hire designers though websites like Fiverr.com and TenBux.com for a pittance. And GetPrint.com is very reasonable, even in small quantities.
So why not a snazzy little card that says something like “Why do we love you?”on the outside and “Because you love to travel!” inside? Be creative.
If you’d rather not spend the money on printing, envelopes, and postage, have your designer create a cute HTML email with your message.
The point here is to stand out from what everyone else is doing and there are plenty of opportunities throughout the year to do just that. Mother’s Day. Father’s Day. Thanksgiving. Even Halloween.
If you are lucky enough to be Irish, why not greet your clients on St. Patrick’s Day? French? Bastille Day. Italian? Columbus Day. Of course, you can single out your Irish, French, or Italian clients on these occasions, too.
And speaking of standing out from the crowd, if you do send cards during December, don’t be wishy-washy. Take the time and initiative to greet your Christian clients with a hearty “Merry Christmas,” your Jewish clients with “Happy Hannukah.” You can also wish your Muslim clients a “Happy Eid al-Fitr” in August.
One caution: Like any marketing tactic, this one needs to be cost effective. If you have a client who books once a year and generates a $100 commission, you may not want to remember every birthday, holiday, and anniversary (although a gentle reminder that thet tenth or twenty-fifth anniversay is approaching never hurts!)
There’s nothing wrong with treating different clients differently, based on how much business they give you in a year. And if you cannot segment your client list according to that criteria, then figure how to do it soon!
And, oh yes, I love every one of my website visitors. Happy Valentine’s Day!