Observing caterers and mobile bartenders, I’ve seen that one of the biggest opportunities that many of you have is understanding the concept of lifetime value of a customer.
When most people think about how much they can afford to spend to acquire a customer, or how much a customer is worth to them, they usually assume that customer will only do business with you once.
That’s the worst mindset to have!
You should be assuming that any given customer is going to do business with you at least five times.
There’s tons of research that has come out about how it’s 5 or 6 times more expensive to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. That means by focusing on getting your same clients to come back to you instead of just trying to get new clients, you could see 5-6 times ROI on your efforts.
Many a business guru has said it, but your most valuable resource as a business really is your existing customer list.
How to Get Customers Back for More
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, what am I going offer my clients to get them to buy from me five different times? There’s a ton of different ways. For one, there’s those annual events? Yea, they tend to come around every single year!
Birthdays? Anniversaries? The Superbowl? Yea, all those come around next year too so if you do a great job the first go around, those same customers are likely to be back for more.
Another option is to cater or bartend different parties for the same person in different contexts. If you do a great job at someone’s engagement party, they might want you at their next office party. This isn’t even bringing up the possibility of referrals (more to come on that one).
Now that we’ve addressed the how, you’re thinking why are they going to buy from you five times. I’ll tell you why – because you’re going to create the perfect experience and cultivate a lifetime relationship so that they come back again and again. (You’re also going to get a truck load of referrals from them, but we’ll talk about that later).
Step 1 – Create the Perfect Experience
The first thing you’re going to do is you’re going to provide an amazing experience. Since you’re running your own catering or bar tending company, I bet you probably already do a pretty good job of this. Small business owners are some of the hardest working and most committed people I meet.
You’re putting in long hours and working really hard. You’re passionate about what you do. You love seeing the look on a satisfied clients face.
But there’s one question that you can ask to make it even better, what would a perfect experience look like for this person? If you don’t know, ask!
Let’s say that they’re having a 50th anniversary party, maybe they want a special dish that you could offer just to them that has a special importance in their marriage. If they’re having a birthday party for their child, maybe he or she has a favorite food from a book (green eggs and ham anyone!?)
These are the kind of special touches that lodge you in a customers mind and help construct the foundation for a lifetime relationship.
Step 2 – Provide Unmatched After Sales Service
Now that you’ve provided an amazing service, you’re going to put the coup de grace on embedding yourself deep in the repeat business portion of your client’s mind. (Conveniently located near the referral lobe).
When the event is over, you’re going to send them a gift with a handwritten note. Everyone expects that after they’ve paid, service will end. They expect you to work hard before they’ve paid you. No one expects you to go above and beyond afterwords. This means every little thing done after they’ve already paid you has a MUCH bigger impact on building a relationship with your clients.
Something as simple as sending them a handwritten note (not an email) will make a huge impact and it won’t take you more than a few minutes. But, you’re going to go beyond that.
You’re going to send them a nice little gift too. As a caterer or mobile bartender, I like sending them a nice bottle of wine or liquor afterwards. For one, it’s not very expensive and it’s classy so you’re associating yourself with value and quality.
Two, it’s going to be sitting around their house until they finish it. And guess what they’re going to think of every time they see it? YOU and the incredible experience that you delivered.
A Little Extra Effort = a LOT More BusinessAfter sales service does not mean slashing down your costs that will not leave you any profit but it is how you handle the customer and providing a memorable experience (a good experience that is)
Providing a perfect experience and unmatched after sales service takes only a little more time and energy than providing an average experience and not following up, but they have a HUGE impact.
You’re no longer just any old caterer or bartender. You’re the caterer or bartender that created an amazing experience and built a meaningful personal relationship. Do you think they’ll ask that person back for help at their next event? Do you think next time their friends or colleagues are looking for a caterer or bartender, they’ll recommend you? You bet!
One of the biggest dangers that you face as a caterers or mobile bartender face is being commoditized. This leads to relentlessly slashing prices until your margins are razor thin and you’re working yourself to the bone just to keep things going. By providing a perfect experience and unmatched after sales service, you don’t run that risk. You’re far more valuable than that!
Setting Yourself Up for Success
Part of being able to provide a perfect experience is making sure you have the right equipment. Our line of portable bars are designed to allow you to provide a premium experience to clients. Download our catalog now to see how if our products can help you grow your business.
Note: If you’re looking to really revamp your marketing and business, I credit many of these ideas to Dean Jackson and Joe Polish of the I Love Marketing Podcast. Go check out their website here for more info.