One day a few years ago, while relaxing in the coffee shop, I noticed they were having the windows cleaned, reminding me of my dirty windows at home. So I walked outside, gave my business card to the window cleaner and asked him to call me. He came with his crew, they did a fantastic job and my clear mountain views were restored!
A year or so later, my windows were dirty again. I wished I had remembered to call the window guy, but I’m just so busy! Actually, I wondered why he hadn’t called me to see if I needed his services again. Had he moved out of town or gone out of business? I called and they came and cleaned my windows again.
It’s time for another window cleaning, but again the window guy hasn’t called.
Now…you’re probably wondering what my dirty windows have to do with your holistic healthcare practice. Well, quite a bit, actually – and here’s why: Most of your clients are just like you and me. They’re very busy with their lives and they forget or procrastinate about calling for an appointment. They may have put it off for so long that either they forgot about it altogether or they feel embarrassed to call after such a long time. Or perhaps they lost your number or forgot your name. Or maybe it’s one of those things they remember when they lie down at night, but it slips their mind when they get distracted by the busy-ness of everyday life.
The typical practitioner would write them off as lost clients. But you don’t want to be typical! And you want to help people, right? Those clients are not lost, they’re inactive. And it’s up to you to reactivate them, to get them coming back in on a regular basis.
It’s definitely to your advantage as a holistic health practitioner to bring back former clients. It costs more time and money to generate a new client than to bring back an old one. Both are necessary and both are worth the investment, but you get a better ROI from reactivated clients than new ones.
Statistics show that over 50% of inactive customers become active again if they are contacted by a business that they used to deal with. 50% – that’s 5 out of 10 former clients who would come back into your practice if you just get in touch with them!
How should you contact them? Email saves time and money, and it’s also more efficient than playing phone tag. However, there’s a drawback – people are so overwhelmed with email these days that they tend to ignore it, delete it or procrastinate on it.
With a newsletter – whether postal or digital – all of your clients, even the inactive ones, are automatically contacted on a regular basis, provided you have collected emails or postal addresses for them. It can bring inactive clients back into your practice, by reminding them what they’ve been missing! Or there’s a chance that people will delete or toss a newsletter.
But a personal letter in the mail is a different story. When you open your mailbox and see a letter from someone you know, aren’t you eager to rip it open and see what they have to say? This is the reaction you want former clients to have when they receive your letter. They are more likely to take action when they see that you took the time to send a real letter.
A friendly letter with an invitation to call for an appointment is often all it takes to motivate former clients to call you. Just let them know you’re thinking about them, that you hope they’re doing well, and that if they need your services you’d be happy to help them get back on track with their wellness care. You might want to include a juicy, client-attractive re-introductory offer, such as a discount or an add-on service.
Use nice stationery with your letterhead and logo. Yes, it will cost you for paper, printing and postage, but it’s an investment in your business and in your success. One reactivated client will more than cover the cost of stationery and stamps. You don’t have to hand-write the letter; it’s fine to type it on your computer and print it out, but use mail merge to enter each person’s name instead of the generic “Dear Friend.”
A special touch is to personalize each letter with a brief handwritten note in the top margin, such as: “Hi Joe- Long time no see! Let me know if you need a tune-up. Hope to see you soon! Aloha…Donna.” What will you say in your personalized note?
You could also use postcards. In one of my reactivation campaigns, I used a postcard with a photo of a rusty old truck abandoned in a lava field, with a note saying: “Feeling stuck? Get moving again with a massage!” Simple yet effective!
When people drop off your radar – whatever the reason – don’t lose clients and cash flow just because they haven’t been in for a while. They will probably be happy to hear from you! But if not, you’ve lost nothing but a few cents and a few minutes. If it’s been months, or even years, you can start bringing back at least half of your inactive clients. Think of the effect this would have on your holistic health practice and your income!
I wonder how much money the window cleaner is losing by not contacting his customers once or twice a year. With some simple contacts he could probably retain much of that business. And so can you in your holistic healthcare practice, if you simply make the effort!