Five ways to maximize the lifetime value of your clients

So much of our time in sales and marketing is focused on the next sale: the next new prospect who doesn’t know us yet, the next new client on the books.  

The thrill of the chase or the big sales are fantastic and every new sale adds a nice chunk – maybe $3,000, $7,000, $15,000 or more of gross margin. But how much effort have you put into the asset (your new client) to ensure each new client also adds another $500, $1,000 or more a year in additional products and services?

For most of the dealers I speak with, the answer tends to be, “We do a great job with our clients and they will just come to us because we are their boat people.” 

That may be true for a percentage of your clients; however, how much money is being left on the table with that approach?

Let me share five strategies to maximize the lifetime value of your clients and see if you think any of them would add to your bottom line.

1. Monthly ezine or email newsletter

This may be one of the best sources to build your business because it is so highly leveraged (one-to-many communication) when it’s done right. To be effective, this newsletter must be consistent (every month at the same time each month) and persistent (ongoing forever).

Here’s how the best email newsletters are created: 80 percent fun and interesting content and 20 percent promotion. Have fun with the content and make sure your newsletter doesn’t become just one big sales promotion email. The yearly newsletter content calendar, content and specific promotions should be completed well before the busy selling season is complete, or hire someone to do it all for you.

2. Monthly postcards to your top clients

The mailbox today is emptier than ever, which is an opportunity for you. Develop a postcard with a fun theme for your type of clients. Think fun boating images, photo of the month, boating fun facts, a calendar of events that’s consistent every month. Then, include the promotions you’ve created for the month. See No. 3 for details.

Just like you have to make the newsletter fun and interesting, make sure your offers are fun and interesting too. Be more creative than just offering a 10 percent discount in service. Again, as with the newsletter, this should all be laid out in advance so all you have to do is send the list to your printer two weeks before you want them to hit mailboxes.

3. Monthly promotions for each revenue stream

We’ve mentioned the 20 percent promotion in your newsletter and the special offers on your monthly postcard, but what do these offers look like?

In my three-day boot camps, we look at each month and determine what type of capacity the dealer has and what makes sense to promote. In the slow times, it may be a killer service offer. In the heat of the season, it will be more gear and pro shop focused. Focus on those high-margin areas of your dealership that people want but have a hard time saying yes to, and give them a reason to say yes.

4. Monthly client events

They can be a simple “boat show” held at the dealership, client appreciation events and sales events. These events are an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your clients (and maybe sell a new prospect too). You have the chance to talk boating with your clients and likely help them invest in their boating lifestyle. It may be new gear they need a recommendation on, service they need done or an upgrade to their boat they didn’t realize they wanted.

5. Earning referrals

With the monthly newsletter, postcard and events, you will now have a media to prompt referrals each and every month. But always keep in mind, referrals come to those who earn them. I encourage my coaching members to send an unexpected gift to their clients a week or two after they take delivery of their new boat with a note that says, “Just wanted to let you know, even after the sale, we are here for you.” It’s actions like this when added to an already exceptional experience that will earn you a few additional referrals every year.

When you implement the strategies and systems described above, you can expect your lifetime value to increase considerably. 

Now, for this month’s challenge: Pull out 12 sheets of paper and write the months of the year on top. Now, divide the paper into four quadrants with Promotions, Newsletter, Postcard and Events in each one. For each month, create three promotions, three fun and interesting topics for your newsletter, three ideas for your monthly postcard and one or two events you could host/promote. This is now your simple guide to complete the system that can operate year after year. 

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