Jeff is a sales rep at a security company owned by one of my customers. When I saw Jeff, he was quite upset; he just lost a commercial customer. Jeff sold him his intrusion system and alarm monitoring services. Now the monitoring was gone. Jeff’s customer had bought an access control system from a competitor. 

Jeff sold access control systems, too. He didn’t get a chance to bid the job, and he didn’t even know the customer was considering an access system. Jeff wondered how that could have happened. Things went well when he sold the system two years ago; in fact, he beat out two other companies for the business.

Unfortunately, Jeff’s experiences are all too common. Salespeople miss repeat business and are left wondering what happened. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make selling to repeat customers easier:

Make your customers feel recognized and valued. For your customer to feel valued, they should know you see them as an individual. They need to know you are glad that they are your customer. And, most importantly, they must know that you care about helping them.

Do this by remembering them. Send them birthday greetings. Connect with them via social media and interact with them. Share insights, a tip or something you know will be of interest to them.

Use a scheduler. Set time once a month to interact with existing customers. Use an automated scheduling tool. That way you won’t get so wrapped up in new business development that you forget to interact with past customers. And don’t try to sell them. Make them feel recognized and valued.

Return phone calls and emails immediately. Few actions demonstrate how important you think a customer is than how quickly or slowly you get back to them. Respect your customers enough to show a sense of urgency to get back to them. Anytime a customer compliments you for getting back to them so quickly, you’re building customer loyalty.

Offer small tokens of appreciation. One of the sales reps I worked with brought his customers home-made cookies once a month as a way of saying thanks for the past business. Another rep I know is a master networker, and he regularly refers new business opportunities to his customers. One other passes out free movie passes. What are you doing to show appreciation to customers? 

Provide top-notch service that goes above and beyond. One of my customers shared a story with me that I’ll share with you. Their central station got a call one night at 8:30 p.m. from someone who just discovered their home had been burglarized. The central station sent a text to the residential sales rep, who went out and met with the customer at 9:30 p.m. that evening. He sold the system and the company installed it the next day.  Actions like these develop customer loyalty.

Make sure customers know you appreciate their business. Customers have many options, and it’s important they know you appreciate them choosing you. Do things to show thanks. A handwritten thank you note stands out in today’s digital era and is your chance to express your gratitude to the customer.

Keep your promises. Say what you mean, mean what you say and deliver on what you promise. You will be well ahead of most others if you simply do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it.

Conduct an annual security audit. At least once annually meet with your customer at their home or business to review what they have and what they need. Situations change, needs change and technology changes. The onsite review and your proactive approach will demonstrate your commitment to the customer and provide you with additional sales opportunities.

Send a newsletter. Keep a list of your customers and send them a newsletter once a month or once a quarter. Include information of value to your customer, things such as security tips and best practices, new technology, product application news, crime trends and issues of significance to your customer. Your newsletter should not be an advertisement for you or your company; rather, it should be an informational resource that brings value to your customer. Use a low-cost mailing service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp.

Repeat business is great business. Follow these nine steps and you’ll be on your way to more sales with existing customers in no time.