As might be expected, this is the time of year many companies set goals and outcomes for the coming year. Most likely these goals include increasing the client base and revenues while increasing profit margins. The sad truth is these are probably the same goals that are set every year and the strategies for achieving the outcomes are probably the same also. Why not use a smarter strategy? Cultivate relationships with your current client base. Make keeping in touch with your current clients a priority rather than always trying to only increase the number of clients. By doing this you have a better chance of seeing your profit margin increase. It Can Be Simple What often surprises people is how simple this can be. The challenge for many people seems to be staying with a system. It’s as simple as saying thank you, keeping in touch, calling to confirm appointments, keeping your name in front of the customer and providing service beyond their expectations. Additionally, your bottom line will be healthier if there is a system in place that allows for confirmation of appointments. When someone initially contacts your company, send some type of a follow up regardless of whether or not they make a purchase. This can be done through phone calls, email or standard mailings. Since email is becoming so commonplace, you may want to consider sending an actual letter or card. Here are a few recommendations that can be an effective part of any business system. These suggestions will help build a consistent flow of business throughout the year. Utilize Time Wisely If, and when, you experience a slow period in your day, utilize the time to call clients/customers in your database. Recently I stopped into a pet store located in the Salt Lake valley. The groomer was frustrated because several people had made appointments for that day and failed to show up. Her clients probably don’t realize if they don’t show she doesn’t make money. The groomer got more discouraged as the day progressed. I asked if there was a system in place to assure a higher rate of clients keeping their appointment. As I suspected, there wasn’t. My suggestions were as follows: Deposits Reduce No Shows Require a 25 - 50% deposit when an appointment is set. No shows forfeit the deposit. It will only take once before people realize they need to be certain when setting the appointment. A simple explanation to someone who doesn’t want to put a deposit down should take care of the situation. Consider this - if someone refuses to give a deposit are they going to be a good pay when they get the full amount to pay? You may want to consider carefully before you do business with them. Be Sure to Thank People After the appointment, send a thank you card to the pet in c/o the owner. This is not a common practice, so the groomer will be seen as someone who cares about the customer’s pet rather than someone who simply provides a grooming service. By sending the card to the pet you add humor that makes the groomer stand out and the owner may show the card to his or her friends because it is so unique. Avoid Wasting Down Time When time allows, pull out past and current client lists. Make as many calls as possible. Use dialogue such as, “Hi Mary, I notice that Max is due for a grooming. We tend to get very busy this time of year and I want to make sure you are able to get an appointment. Let’s go ahead and book you for one right now? Great, let me go ahead and get your credit card number so we can take care of your deposit on that. Thanks and see you on _____.” Quick Reminder Call Each day, spend a few minutes going through appointments that have been made for the following few days. Make a quick call to remind people of their pet’s appointment. You will be amazed at how this will reduce the no shows. These communication techniques can work for you, regardless of your business. Think of how you can apply these simple tools to your business. In these changing times, it is up to you to be as flexible and creative as possible. Take advantage of every opportunity to keep in touch with your customers and clients. You will be amazed at the bottom line results.

Author's Bio: 

Discover success insights from experts around the globe who are out there making a difference and making a great living in the process. Kathleen Gage interviews the best of the best with Power Up for Profits Podcast.