Guest post By Dan Kennedy
Many years ago, I took over a business with mammoth collection problems: almost all of its customers had open accounts and paid their bills ten to sixty days late (except those who didn't pay at all). We quickly instituted a number of corrective measures, including tighter credit controls and policies, interests charges, a sequence of past-due notices, and collection calls.
However, we also instituted a positive strategy.
We started sending hand-signed thank you notes for prompt payment to anybody who did pay on time...those who were almost on time...and even late payers who responded to a past-due notice. Guess what happened? Those customers who received thank you notes became better paying customers.
I know a Doctor who started a procedure of giving fresh, long-stemmed red roses to his women patients who showed up for their appointment on time, or paid their bills on time, or referred another patient. "Funny thing," he told me. "We no longer have patients missing appointments. Our collections have improved. Referrals are up. And, some guys are asking how they can get roses, too!
Here are a few specific ideas you might adopt, as ways of saying thank you:
- Keep customers' birthdays on file and send cards and/or mail gifts.
- Send Thanksgiving cards or letters.
- Make it a habit to drop a personal thank-you note in the mail each day, to at least one customer.
- Send a gift certificate or discount certificate to a customer who makes an unusually large purchase.
- Host a "Customer Appreciation Event" - a Christmas party, a backyard bar-b que.
- Have an occasional closed-to-the-public, preferred customer sale.
- Drop in personally on your best customers, with a surprise gift.
I figured it up just the other day; last year, personally and for my various businesses combined, I signed checks for well over one million dollars, in payment for goods and services to all sorts of people and companies. And I don't care what anybody says - a million bucks is a lot of money. Yet, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of the recipients of all that money who have expressed any gratitude in any formal kind of way. Only one of them found out and recognized my birthday.
Just saying "thanks" is a big step ahead of the competition today.
DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider's Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world. Learn more and get your free two-month subscription today.