In this special feature of 'Ask Entrepreneur,' Facebook fan Bashue Allard asks: What is the best way to encourage a customer to buy from me again after making a sale?
The best way to make a customer buy again, after the first purchase, is to understand that farming -- not hunting -- is the world we live in now. Farming is focused on nurturing your customer through a caring relationship. Hunting is trying to close another deal too soon and this approach erodes customer loyalty.
Instead of focusing on the next sale, focus on deepening the customer relationship first by curating conversations on the social networks they use -- whether it's Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.
For example, start following your customers on Twitter and use the platform to engage in conversations that are independent of what you're trying to sell them. Observe what they like, then ask them meaningful questions about what they like.
I'll use my wine business as an example. At winelibrary.com I'm able to see that you're a Pinot Noir drinker. By communicating with you on Twitter or Facebook, I'm able to learn that in addition to wine, you're also a football fanatic, regular cupcake eater, and new gardener. The next time you tweet or post about making cupcakes, I can suggest pairing your cupcakes with a new dessert Riesling in stock, that's similar in taste to another Riesling you mentioned last month.
Bottom line -- you have to recognize the importance of getting to know who your customer really is, not just what they buy. Then, let the qualitative data collected about them set up your next ask.
Never lose sight of your customer longevity either, the follow up after any sale is just as imperative as making the initial sale. Make time to literally pick up the phone and call your customers to personally thank them for their business--even if it's a year and a half later.
That extra touch, the human touch, will never go unnoticed by your customers and will lead your business to lasting success.