In a perfect world, everyone would be open to strategies and ideas which have been proven to work right?
Well, this one is almost never taken seriously on the first try.
And it can be responsible for many millions down the road while being an asset your entire business will rely on if you plan on selling your baby down the road.
A restaurant had asked me how they could increase their business because every weekday there were empty seats collecting dust.
As you can imagine, anyone with an empty restaurant, hemorrhaging money would like to know how to solve this problem.
So, without hesitation, the answer popped right in my head.
They never collected names, emails or any data of the patrons who came in. I’d been to the restaurant dozens of times.
Probably spent thousands since they’ve opened, yet they never deliberately wanted me back.
Or at least it seemed that way.
I went on and explained that collecting the names and emails of those who enjoyed the restaurant will give you an opportunity to potentially double your business this year alone.
Because with the information of the customers and clients, you have the ability to invite them back.
Show your clients that you care about them, send love and cards along with an incentive to return or tell friends.
If one client comes back 4 times a year, you have a pretty loyal client. Yet we’re talking about a restaurant.
People need to eat every single day and you’re banking on (wishing and hoping) they come back 4 times this year.
How about taking charge of your own fate and manufacturing that return rate.
You see, us humans are simple creatures. We usually do as we’re told because secretly we want to be led.
Sometimes, I’d rather you just tell me what to do so I wouldn’t have to burn energy on using my big ol’ brain to figure it out.
The average person doesn’t know whether or not you want them to come back. They need reassurance that you enjoyed their company.
That you cared enough about them giving you money and trying your services.
This is why you should do everything in your power to gather the data of anyone who enters your establishment.
You create an asset that can be leveraged for many years down the line.
Let’s say you have a slow Tuesday afternoon.
With a database of customers or clients at your disposal, you can send a quick 15-minute email stating “come by in the next 4 hours and get a free dessert with your meal by saying the word ‘bugaboo’ when you’re seated”
Voila, you might have 25 people yelling “Bugaboo” after imagining that cake they’ve wanted all week but couldn’t have because their spouse had been trying to regulate the healthy food intake.
And guess what, they had to eat anyway. Now you’ve given an incentive to choose you.
That’s just one leverage point of collecting the names, emails, and data of your customers, clients, and patients.
So this restaurant never took action on my suggestion 🙁
Of course, they are still in the exact position they’ve been for the past 4 years. Dusting money in the bucket.
The owner thought it was obnoxious and a dumb idea. Yet they never thought to even try.
My philosophy is that you should do anything to get your service or products in the hands of your prospects.
Especially if you are better than anyone and everyone else around.
So no, it’s not bothersome or evil to invite past customers back. It’s not annoying to try and grow and increase your business.
Also, if you have the information about what your patron ordered – you can offer something complimentary.
For example: enjoyed your last XYZ meal? Let me buy your next one. Come back to RESTAURANT NAME by June 6th and the next meal’s on me.
Imagine a pool cleaner who comes around once a month to get rid of the waste from wild teen parties when you’re out for 3 days.
Would you reject the cleaner who emailed you with an offer to keep the neighborhood teens away with a liquid they can put in the pool to immediately change color when a pimply kid plagues your freshly cleaned pool?
A fun extreme example, but chances are you’d like to prevent these occurrences from happening more often. Here’s your solution.
Three years ago a burger joint asked for my information, so I obliged of course. I love to be sold and enjoy the process any business takes me through.
But this time, they asked for different criteria. They wanted to know my birthday. Okay, let’s have fun with this. I’d given my details and went on my way.
2 Weeks before my birthday I get a postcard in the mail saying I get a free meal on my birthday up to like $25 bucks or something. It was a well-designed card and a great offer. I love burgers and enjoyed the experience, heck – why not!?
These guys knew what they were doing.
So my lady and I traveled far and wide to this burger joint and spent nearly $100. I’d imagine many people do the same or similar. We’d always spend more than what was advertised just because limits are wack.
What did it cost them to get me to come back? About $1.87 maybe? The return on that money was big and they have a customer for life.
As long as you keep your mind open to these types of opportunities, you can be rewarded lovely with a little creativity.
Imagine what you would like out of an experience. Have you ever walked out of a service business saying “you know, they’ve probably done much better if…” chances are you have.
It’s time to switch the tables and turn those ideas onto yourself.
But you will not have the opportunity unless you have that database. Unless you actively collect those names, emails, and anything else you can think of. Address, birthday, kids, etc.
How do you use your head to collect these names?
Well, if you take credit cards you’ve already got an avenue. Although you can’t take the names & information straight off the cards, you can ask them to fill out a card.
You can do the old school data collection by putting all the names and data on index cards or use your Point Of Sales software you already use.
Some kind of customer retention management system.
What computer software do you already use in your business to take money or track sales?
Well, it would be in your best interest to put a little more information into the database you already have.
On checkout, you can simply ask for the email, phone number, and the name of everyone who checks out.
In a restaurant, when you bring the checkout say – want a free dessert? If you fill out this card with your information I’ll bring it right out.
Or without having to shell out money on sugar and candles, you can say you’ll get 22% off your next visit or this bill immediately if you’re a member.
Maybe simply add value by giving exclusive menu items to members only.
But they have to sign up now to become a member in order to get a chance to try the special items.
This blends into the other commandments, which we’ll go into deeper waters with later.
For now, I want you to understand the importance of creating or having a database.
Earlier I mentioned a note about selling your business. Well having a database of customers will increase the value of your business.
The new owners will not have to work nearly as hard to maintain dominance. They won’t have to start from scratch every week, spending thousands on advertising trying to get new customers.
You already did the hard work by creating a much-needed asset for them. Which gives you leverage to ask for a LOT more money.
To summarize, you should have a database in place with your customer’s information so you can communicate frequently.
If you have a good friend, the bond comes with constant communication. The more you speak, the stronger your bond.
This is the same with business. The more you touch your prospects or clients – the stronger the connection.
Which turns into more visits, and the higher chance they’ll tell others.
Maybe you’d think there’s nothing to talk about. Well, if you’ve been in business for longer than 3 years you know damn near everything there is to know.
The key here is not to just extract time and money from this database. But exchange value in the form of trust, communication, and great offers.
How can you help them? Ask yourself frequently, how can you serve your audience better, even if they won’t pay you right now?
It could be with a bit of information about your ingredients for the lunch they might choose this week. Maybe you’d want to give insight into the health issues they might be dealing with and how you can solve a fraction of it for them, free.
No matter what you choose, the only way to convey this value frequently is to have this asset. Communicate often, and communicate frequently.
Hope this helps.
Back at the Ranch,
Lord David Rosa