Do You Know Who Your Customers Are? Use Your List

You need to check your customer database.

What? You don’t have one? It isn’t up to date? It didn’t seem important to you?

Your customer database is worth its weight in gold. Without it, you might as well just plan on going out of business…if not today, then soon.

Your existing customers are the most important source of income for any business. Knowing who these people are, understanding why they have chosen to work with you, and catering to their needs, wants, and desires must be your priority.

What amazes me is how many small business owners fail to exploit their very own customer list. You gained those customers at a relatively large cost. To retain them is critical because of the following reasons:

  • If a customer has bought from you once, chances are very excellent that they will do so again.
  • Recruiting a new customer costs much more than it costs to retain an old customer.
  • Catering to your existing customers is the wisest business decision you’ll ever make.
  • Selling to an existing customer is easier than selling to a new customer.
  • Selling to an existing customer is more profitable because you don’t have the cost of acquiring that customer this time.

The problem, however, is that once many businesses make a sale, they’re just looking over that customer’s shoulder to see who is next. Failing to try to make any type of follow-up sale to a customer who has recently done business with you can cost you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars in lost income.

If you do not have a way to get the contact information for every customer you have ever had in your place of business, you need to get a system in place today.

The best information is to have name, address, email address, phone number, purchasing history, ads and promotions that each customer has responded to.

You can recreate some of your customer lists by getting software and putting the information in by hand from past transactions, credit card receipts, etc. Whatever you do, start on it today and get that information into your database.


Teach your customer service reps and salespeople to get the contact information from every person who comes into your store. Larger companies have rewards programs. The customer feels as though they are getting a benefit from the discount they receive, but the business owner is building their list daily by soliciting this information from each customer, and then tracking their purchases and ad responses.

There is no reason that a small business should conduct business in any other way.

Kathleen Birmingham

Shop Local Initiatives

Buying from him today could keep him in biz tomorrow.

For anyone who reads this, consider making a pledge to yourself to shop locally for a period of time. I have heard initiatives from around the country where people are trying to shop locally for the entire holiday season.

Others want to try to set up a single day a month where customers will buy locally. This requires a little bit of organization on the part of the biz owners, but they might consider doing it.

The payoff could be huge!

Spending money in your community helps to pay for services such as police, fire, emergency personnel, to say nothing of our schools, roads, and infrastructure.

More and more communities are discovering that they don’t have money for such essential services, and even more of them are discovering that they aren’t going to be able to afford the pensions of their current workers a few short years down the road.

When you spend money in a big department store, most of the money leaves your community (and oftentimes even your country) by the truckloads. We have to stop sending our money to other countries.

The more we do that, the more grim our future is going to be.

Little by little we are draining our communities dry. And yet, it only takes just a little bit of a change, perhaps spending $50 to $100 locally that you would normally have spent in a big store or online.  You will also find that when you shop locally you have a lot more choices.  Do we really want to be so universal that everyone, everywhere buys exactly the same thing?

What are you going to do today to try to support your local biz?