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David FullerOne only has to listen to the news for a few minutes to hear doom and gloom about the economy. Yet as business owners, we only survive when we have customers buying products and services from us.

Regardless of how the economy is doing around us, we need to find ways to get our customers to buy from us on a regular basis. Here are five things you can do to get your customers to buy more often from you despite economic challenges and, in the process, recession-proof your business.

1. Celebrations and Special Events for Preferred Customers:

Every business has its best customers with which it wants to continue to have relationships. Treating these customers as special by inviting them to special events is a recognition of their value to your business. These events should be fun, timely, and personable. You may wish to introduce new products and services or have special pricing. The best thing for your business is that, when done properly, everyone wins! Putting effort into your celebrations brings your business to life in the minds of your preferred customers.

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2. Follow Up on Sales:

One of the lost arts of selling is the follow-up. How often do you get a call from the vendor after you have made a purchase just checking in to see how you are doing with it. Follow-up calls can be huge in building loyalty and trust and making customers feel comfortable with you and what you have sold them. You are reducing their risks because they know you care and, thus, are more likely to buy from you in the future and recommend you to others. When times are tough, we need to go that extra mile to ensure that our customers are happy with our products and services; following up on sales is one of the best ways to build relationships.

3. Loyalty Programs:

Loyalty programs seem commonplace now, and many customers expect a loyalty program when buying from you. But how unique is your loyalty program? Are there ways that you can make it extra special? It might be in the delivery of the program; it might be in the wording. Loyalty programs don’t have to be complex; in fact, they might be as simple as a punch card. The key is to give your customers a reason to come back and buy again from you.

4. Next Step Recommendations:

When dealing with our customers, we build relationships as we provide our products or services. Often, we can see the next steps they need to take to get to where they want to go. To help them achieve their goals, it is in their best interest and ours to suggest what that step is and start selling it to them. This not only gives our customers reassurance that we understand their needs but keeps us top of mind when they are really ready to take that next step.

5. Put Your Customers on Autopilot!

While many businesses wait for customers to contact them, smart businesses put their customers on autopilot. In other words, their customers are locking in for service or product for extended periods of time. This can be done by offering automatic shipping, automatic billing, lifetime service contracts, or service agreements that make it easy for your customers to stay with you. When your customer understands the value of entering into such an agreement with you, the benefits can be mutually beneficial.

In challenging times, keeping your customers happy goes a long way to ensuring your business is healthy and profitable for the future. Now is the time to invest in that future and those customers and, in the process, recession-proof your business.

Dave Fuller, MBA, is an award-winning business coach and a partner with Pivotleader Inc.

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