Continually finding ways to put yourself in front of your customers so that you are fresh in their mind is a good thing. But keep in mind this will only strengthen your relationship (and lead to referrals) if you make them feel special. This is especially true if you are sending communication that is referencing a specific interaction or sale that has occurred between you. So many businesses today are finding ways to cheapen contact with their customers and doing more harm than good. To better illustrate this I have attached a letter a friend of mine received after purchasing a new vehicle. It is clear with the example what the salesman was trying to achieve and where he fell (considerably) short.
In an attempt to reach out to the new customer and potentially reel in some referral business the salesman chose to send a generic thank you message. The first mistake is that it does not reference anything personal but the name of the buyer pulled from a list. The actual content of the letter is confusing and asks for a referral in an all but subtle way. The salesman doesn’t even take the time to make the message appear personal (“if your new vehicle is equipped with SYNC” …don’t you know? You sold it to me!) The salesman didn’t even remove the links at the bottom of the message which was obviously an email printout — come on! It is very obvious from this letter that the intention was not to make the buyer feel good, but simply an attempt to increase sales. The buyer will see through this, bottom line.
Now more than ever people are relying on the experiences of others to make their purchase decisions. Today we are all interconnected and feedback is available at our fingertips — as a consequence the effectiveness of conventional advertising has become severely diluted. In a world full of noise most all but ignore mass advertisements. This is bad news for the large companies and a great opportunity for local businesses that are able to develop relationships with their customers and leverage them for referrals. The most successful companies are taking advantage of this opportunity and finding ways to communicate with their customers on a personal level. And then there are the businesses (like above) that are reaching out to their customers but doing so in an impersonal way that is actually damaging their relationships.
Companies should consider how each message will make the recipient feel. Too often they are trying to find ways to put themselves in front of the customer that they forget why they are doing it to begin with. The goal is to strengthen the personal relationship and to make them feel special. These are the reasons people will refer you to their friends and family. An alternative — send personalized handwritten notes. If you are too busy to reference specifics then simply let them know they are appreciated and you value their business.