Last week, I attended a short marketing seminar, which was more of a conversation with local entrepreneurs on some marketing tips and tricks that work for them. The presenters were Peter Wallin from Wallin Insurance, Julie Delgrosso from the Christmas House, and Alan Fusco from the Holiday Inn (Elmira and Horseheads).
Julie Delgrosso made a nice presentation about maximizing existing customers. She owns a niche retail store in a refurbished victorian home on Elmira's south side. One of the best tips she shared was to "use those four magic words: 'did you see this?'" Rather than being a pushy salesperson, Julie suggested using "did you see this" or "did you try this" or "did you hear about this" to promote new products to existing customers. She also shared some public relations tips that can take place right at the sales desk, like correcting errors quickly, remembering customer's names, and always providing a fun experience.
Alan Fusco shared some extraordinary customer service stories that make him proud of his employees, from the front desk staff to the maintenance crew. His main focus, however, was to stress the importance of the Internet. Alan keeps a close eye on his competition with Google Alerts, manages relationships with social media, and generates business by keeping track of regional events and collaborating with planners.
Peter Wallin wrapped up the presentation with three basic steps to building business: "sell, up-sell, and keep customers." Statistics prove that his local insurance agency retains more customers when they sell more policies. For example, someone who only has auto insurance is much more likely to leave after 5 years than someone who has auto, home, and life insurance. Peter's biggest asset, like Julie's, is his list of existing customers. He feels that if he can be a friend to them, or a "friend in the business," he can maximize his selling power.
Please check out these small businesses (links at the top) for more information about how they're staying connected to their customers and their community!