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Looking for a way to make some more profits from your business? Never forget who your best customers are, and you might be surprised how quickly they can impact on your profits.

We all like to think we get something extra for being a loyal customer. We like the feeling that we are that little bit special. And we hate to think that new customers get the same or, even worse, something more than we do. Remember how frustrated you felt when you heard a bank or building society offering a better rate for new customers. Did you think “What about me? What do I get for being loyal and sticking with your business for years?”

Everyone knows the statistics about how much easier and cheaper it is to retain a customer or client than to get a new one. But all too often these are the very people we forget about or take for granted, especially when your business is growing and you are focused on bringing on board all those new customers. If someone has already bought from you, they are far more likely to do so again – so be prepared to offer them something different to make sure they don’t try your competition out.

What about some of these ideas to get you thinking? Offer existing customers a discount for additional services they take; give a volume discount for larger purchases; offer an exclusive product, service or event that is only available for current customers; do a charity donation for your top customers chosen cause; give all your customers a free related book at Christmas or give free trials of your new product to anyone who has been with you for a while.

Once you’ve decided, talk to new customers about what will happen if they stay with you for the long term – don’t be embarrassed that you give more to long term customers, be open about it as a positive business approach. And, never, ever wait until your customer leaves or threatens to leave and then offer them the world to stay. Not only will you hack them off massively, but even if you keep them in the short term, you will not have a loyal customer in the long term.

So, learn the lessons from your own experience as a customer, before it’s too late. Whatever business you are in there is always something you can do to reward the loyalty of your customers. If you can’t think of anything else, try something more personal and just pick up the phone to thank them for their ongoing support and check that they are happy with everything – you might be surprised by what it does for your profits!

So, take action NOW – this week, find a way to reward the top 3 of your customers.

Kate Marsden is the founder of The Profit Mechanic (www.TheProfitMechanic.co.uk) – dedicated to giving Small Business Owners the tools, input and resources they need to succeed in the most important thing in their business – increasing profit. Kate has more than 20 years business experience, including as Director for a number of well known organisations and as owner of her own businesses.

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