Increase Sales by Turning Customers Into Advocates

Are you looking for a proven, yet relatively low cost way to increase sales during these challenging times? 

Of course you are! Everyone is these days.

Most organizations are exclusively focused on finding new people to do business with. In other words, they’re always going fishing for new clients.

Turn things around and leverage your current customers to generate new business opportunities. Why not have them do your fishing for you?

Encourage them to become advocates for your business. It’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to increase revenue. Your clients will promote your business, along with its products and services, by recommending it to likely buyers who are similar to them. 

They’ll do this gladly and for FREE. Who could ask for more?

Here’s how you can turn customers into advocates and leverage their advocacy to the fullest.

Identify likely advocates.

Start by segmenting your customer base.

Not every customer or client will turn into an advocate. The reality is most will not.

  • Some simply want to purchase something from you every now and then and they’re done.
  • Others become regular buyers, but will do little else to benefit you and your business.
  • A few will be willing to become genuine, long-term advocates for your brand.

The simplest way to identify possible advocates from the normal buyers in your customer base is to ask everyone you do business with to rate you on a scale of one to ten about how likely they are to recommend you to others. You can do this as you close a deal or as part of a digital follow up survey.

Anyone who rates you a nine or ten could become a brand advocate. Segment them for special messaging and advocacy-related marketing and communication campaigns.

Always ask for feedback.

Another great way to find potential advocates is to ask clients for feedback. It’s also the best way to honestly learn about what’s working in your organization and what’s not. It shows the people you do business with that you care about their opinions. 

Requesting feedback doesn’t have to be difficult. Train your reps to ask customers how things are going. Reinforce this by adding an online survey to the end of every customer interaction. Those who provide positive feedback in person or through the surveys could be likely advocates.

Launch a referral program.

Referral programs serve two important purposes. They’re a proven way to build business PLUS they help identify advocates. By offering a discount or other reward for a referral, you’re getting leads on possible buyers and identifying potential advocates who may be willing to provide ongoing referrals for your business.

When you look at all these benefits, a referral program could be one of the top marketing opportunities for your organization.

Encourage advocacy.

Finding potential advocates is one thing. Turning them into actual ones is another. Here’s how you can do it.

Provide customer service that’s second to none.

People don’t remember customer interactions that are just okay. They won’t complain, but they aren’t going to recommend your business, either.

If you want to turn buyers into brand advocates, you can’t just meet expectations. You’ve got to beat them, by a LOT. Otherwise they will turn to competitors who provide more memorable and valuable experiences. Or they’ll keep buying from you, but not feel very committed to your business.

Say their name.

People love to hear their names and the names of the companies they represent. Scientific studies have proven that when we hear our names and the names of the things that we care about, such as the businesses we work for, said out loud, people’s brains respond in positive ways.

Train your reps to say the names of customers and regularly reference the businesses they work for. Personalize messaging whenever possible. It demonstrates that you and the people on your team care enough to know who their customers are and treat them as individuals who work for unique organizations. It will help turn regular buyers into brand advocates.

Tip: Don’t go overboard. Using somebody’s name too often (especially in person) can come across as too practiced or artificial. It won’t increase advocacy. It will drive people to the competition.

Encourage people to do business with you over and over and… You get it.

The people you work with won’t become advocates overnight. It typically takes multiple purchases and interactions to begin to feel loyalty to a brand.

Encourage customers to come back to do additional business with you. Use discounts, reward programs and other smart marketing tactics to accomplish this. Increased interactions will benefit your bottom line and help turn more buyers into advocates.

Offer a loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are effective because if a business offers customers a bonus or reward to come back, it’s less likely they’ll be tempted to do business elsewhere. As noted in the previous section, repeat customers are more likely to become brand advocates. Loyalty programs are a win win. They provide benefits to buyers and increase revenue for businesses.

Offer personalized service.

Personalized service makes people feel special and encourages them to come back for more. Doing special things doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive. It can be as simple as remembering something meaningful to the client or a special interaction. Or it could involve surprising someone with a favorite muffin and cup of coffee or sending a small, meaningful gift on their birthday.

When you make people feel special, they’re more likely to want to make YOU feel special in return by becoming advocates.

Under promise and over deliver.

This is one of the most powerful tactics for driving consumer advocacy. When you under promise and over deliver, you surprise people because you give them more than they expect. They’ll become advocates because people love to tell stories about businesses that provide added value for the dollar. It makes them feel like smart and savvy consumers.

Send written thank you notes.

How often do you receive something in the mail that makes you happy? Exactly. It’s a constant flow of bills, ads and statements.

That’s why personal, hand written and mailed thank you notes stand out. They show you care about your customers and value your relationship with them. That simple piece of paper is a powerful tool for building advocacy.

Automate it.

If all of this seems difficult or time consuming, it doesn’t have to be. Leveraging software like Mobile Locker’s makes it possible to automate virtually every aspect of it, making it easy to launch and run your advocacy program. Plus, it allows you to monitor the success of every step of it so you can make it more effective over time. Contact a helpful Mobile Locker rep to find out more.

The bottom line.

In the end, think about what would turn you into an advocate for another business. Then do those things to transform your clients into advocates for YOUR business. Why fish when you can get them to fish for you?

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