Your best customers are your evangelists—customers who love your brand and recommend it highly. But does your company have a plan to nurture and support evangelists?
An evangelist is defined as a zealous advocate. Evangelists are devoted fans who may even be willing to pay a premium price for your goods and services. Apple and Starbucks are prime examples.
What makes a customer an evangelist? Customers base their buying decision on all sorts of criteria: color, options, availability, consumer ratings, need vs. want, return policy, reputation, lowest price vs. premium price, small local business vs. large global company, and more. Ultimately, a customer becomes an evangelist based on your solution, your company, or your salesperson.
Does your business generate evangelists? If so, is it by accident or design? For the most part, companies don’t ask these questions. They just do what they do without a plan that will engender evangelists and bring compound interest on their efforts.
Once you determine you have evangelists, you need to identify why and how you attracted them. What did they buy? Why did they buy? Did you meet them at a trade show? Were they referred by a happy customer or through a partner, by direct mail, or via a trade publication? Do they read your blog? Follow you on Twitter? Connected on LinkedIn?
Surveys, reviews, and especially personal conversations can be very effective in getting this information. If they found you as a result of a Google search, what were they looking for? What call to action worked? Marketing software platforms like Optify and HubSpot can help gathering this data.
Once you understand the how and why that attracted your evangelists, you can create a plan to repeat the process over and over again. Right from the very beginning of the engagement process, you should be looking for customers who will become evangelists. Imagine your business as if every sale became two or three!
To convert a customer to an evangelist and keep them forever, examine your sales process. Are you proactive at following up? Do you call new customers several times to make sure that every step in the delivery, setup, and installation process is as expected? Are you calling them a week or a month later to see whether they need anything? Would they recommend you call a friend so that they can get one too?
Does your sales process include a suggestion to offer a company review at a site like Comparz? There are two reasons to suggest this early. First, get them to do a review before they have any negative experiences. They also will see other reviews there and feel reassured about their purchase.
I like to touch my “A” clients once a week, every week. Remember, if they’re you’re “A” clients, they’re your competitors’ “A” prospects. You need to be talking to them more than they hear from your competitors.
I touch my “B” clients once a month, and my “C” clients once a quarter. Seem like a lot? Who would you rather talk to, a happy customer that might give you a referral or buy something else from you, or a prospect who is trying to figure out how to get you off the phone?
Seriously, what’s the worst that could happen? Your customer logs into Comparz and writes “They over-serviced me. They called to make sure that delivery was OK, installation was OK, and everything was working OK until they knew that I was totally settled in.” Would that be terrible?
When you proactively contact your customers, ask about specific features of your product. If they are having problems, ask them when the service tech is coming out and if you can call right after the service call to make sure they’re happy. They’ll tell you that it’s not necessary. You’ll do it anyway. They’re yours for life.
Anybody can be successful in a perfect world, but the world’s not perfect, so your process needs to be able to handle a few bumps in the road. People who want to complain will use the Internet to do so. You’ll need to make sure that your evangelists outnumber them and are using the Internet to sing your praises.
In summary, your sales process doesn’t end until you have an endless stream of referrals from an infinite number of evangelists.
Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software rankings.