Information, Please

June 1998


Information, Please

Why keeping customer records deepens client relationships

Behind all effective relationship-marketers is a trove of information about their customers' spending habits, tastes, past visits and future purchase plans, says Jack Levenson of the sales training firm Anzell & Levenson, Las Vegas. The more retailers know about their customers, the better they can tailor their product suggestions and make the most of jewelry-buying occasions. Levenson has some recommendations for the admittedly tricky task of building up your customer- information base.

  • Regard "every breathing mammal" who walks into your store as someone to add to your customer list. Salespeople should approach everyone - even people who have come in only to have their watch-battery changed - to get their name, phone number and address.
  • Make sure the customer understands that answering your questions can be beneficial to him or her. Levenson recommends saying something like this: "While you're in the store, do you mind if I take your phone number and address? That way I can let you know about any upcoming sales or special events you might find interesting."
  • As you talk to the customer, listen for clues for future selling opportunities. If a customer is buying a gift for his wedding anniversary, ask when it is so you can send him a reminder note or call him the following year. Be sure to write down any nuggets you uncover right away.
  • Record every visit a customer makes to your store, whether or not he or she buys anything. If a customer doesn't buy, write down the reason.
  • Keep track of when your customers' jewelry is due for a cleaning or check-up. Notify them when the time comes - it's a good way to get them into the store.
  • If a customer objects to your questions, back off. Some people don't want to give out their phone numbers or other personal information and will get angry if you persist.

You can keep your records on index cards. And, of course, there's computer software that can be used for the same purpose. Levenson prefers keeping information in a client book - it's more professional-looking and easier to handle than the former and, unlike a computer, can be accessed instantly, he says.

Whatever system you use, be disciplined and thorough. It will pay off, Levenson says. "The point of all this is so that even if Joe's Jewelers down the street is selling the same piece of jewelry for $5 less, your customer will buy it from you because he knows you're the one who takes care of him," he says.

Levenson and his partner, Christine Anzell, developed their own client book two years ago when they couldn't find anything that met their needs. The books, at $29.95 each, have pages for profiles of customers and the people for whom your customers buy gifts. They also have monthly call sheets so salespeople can list the customers they need to contact. For more information, call (800) 887-8902.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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