How to Create a Client Database and How to Work with It. How to Earn Customer Loyalty
Business and online-business
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If you are constantly looking for new clients, your own and your employees’ time expenditure is very high, your advertising expenses keep growing and the overall cost of attracting clients is higher than that of your competitors. Nearly all CEOs know how much their managers dislike cold calling when you simply open the Yellow Pages and dial one number after another. Sales managers who have to do it soon quit and go to work for a business that generates clients for them.

After all, it is much simpler to talk to people who have called or those you know – those who already bought from you and were happy with the purchase. That is why, if we want repeat clients, if we want them to continue buying from us and not from our competitors, it is a good idea to work with them systematically: remind them of our existence, wish them happy holidays, or give them gifts. If we work with clients without a system, chaotically, whenever we remember, the effect will not be too great. If, on the other hand we, unlike everyone else, work with our clients regularly, people always remember us and, if there is a need for our product or service, they will call us.

In other words, you need to maintain a database of your clients. It is much easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to endlessly spend time and money on attracting new ones.

Types of Client Database Maintenance

• A special paper “client card” with personal client information on one side and purchase history on the other.

• An Excel table (or – you can only protect it from being copied.

• A CRM system (Customer Relations Management) – you can both protect it from being copied and set up various types of data access for your employees. Of course, a full version of a CRM system costs money, but it will remind you of what you need to do. It is easy to monitor your employees using the system and your clients will not be left behind.

Where to Get Information for a Client Database

Growing a client database is no easy task. People do not like to give out their e-mail addresses because they are afraid of receiving spam. You need to create a subscription form for company news and promotions on your website. You can offer a gift to a potential client in return for an e-mail address. Print out a client form or a coupon reading “Provide your phone number or e-mail address to be the first to learn about our promotions and discounts” on regular paper and place it at all points of sale. If you give out discount cards, you can enter information the clients provide in their applications into your database.

Where can you get information about potential clients?










Subscription to mailings (or a gift in exchange for an e-mail address)

Surveys to collect contact information at points of sale

Business cards of potential clients

Ask your clients or friends to give you contact information of those who can use your help

Exchange of mailing databases with partners

The people you know, those you met at school, on vacation, at a conference, etc.


Spam Methods (Not recommended!)









Yellow pages, Internet search

Other people’s ads

Forums, communities, social networks

State registration or licensing websites for your industry

Software for spam address-collection from other websites

Client databases of others without owners consent

Purchase of spam client databases

What do you do with current clients

• Enter all of the business cards you have into the database.

• Go through all agreements or orders and enter their information into the database.

• Enter all of the information that sales managers have into the database.

• Monitor Internet and media news (B2B).

• Have client questionnaires for participation in promotions and special offers filled out.

• Conduct surveys at points of sale.

• Have subscriptions to mailings.

Types of client databases

Potential clients (B2B and B2C separately)

Ex-clients, old clients (B2B and B2C separately)

Current clients (B2B and B2C separately)

VIP clients

Objectives for working with the client database

Turn into current clients

Bring them back, continue to work with them

Sell more, turn them into VIP clients

Keep their loyalty and sell a lot


Creating the client database – data entry

Client name and contact information (phone, e-mail, address)

Personal client information and purchase history

The type of information you need to find out about the client first of all and how to get it

Maximum amount of information

Sources of client information

Subscriptions to mailings, business card collection, topical websites, etc.

Filled out questionnaires, orders received

Sale managers’ reports, questionnaires filled out in the course of promotions, media monitoring (for B2B)

Personal contact

Ongoing work with clients: your news, promotions, useful articles, gifts, holiday wishes

Mailings, calls, invitations

Mailings, calls, invitations

Mailings, calls, invitations, gifts

Mailings, calls, invitations, gifts, personal contact

Planned work with clients

Mailings, calls, invitations, gifts

Mailings, calls, invitations, gifts

Mailings, calls, invitations, gifts

Mailings, calls, invitations, gifts

Do not forget that your mailings to potential and current clients should not be the same. In other words, you need to write four different mailings for each group of clients.

Maintaining a database of current clients (B2B). What information to enter

1. Information about the company and current employees (information about past employees should not be deleted, but should be moved to the new place of employment or archived). The goal is to collect and enter into the database as much information as possible.

2. Transaction history:

  • All of client correspondence history;
  • Negotiations on current transactions;
  • Information on transaction documents sent and received;
  • Transaction financials;
  • New offers and decisions made by the client.

Designating a Responsible party. Monitoring Client Database Maintenance and Use

If you do not designate a special person to maintain the database you will have a “too many cooks spoil the broth” situation. Sales managers will sabotage data entry that does not bring them direct rewards. That is why you should choose a diligent, industrious employee and designate him or her as the party responsible for client database maintenance.

Here is what you need to do:

1) Determine the responsible party and his/her functions;

2) Teach him/her to maintain the client database;

3) Make sure to get this across to all employees (especially, salespeople). Make it mandatory for the managers to enter data into the database or submit the information received from the clients to the responsible party. Do not pay commissions to salespeople until the person responsible for the database confirms that all data has been entered;

4) The person responsible should control new data entry into the database and enter any updates for each client;

5) The person responsible for the database should combine this with his/her regular job duties and receive a bonus.

Inspire Loyalty in Your Best Clients

If your clients are loyal to your company, not only do they constantly bring you money, but they also forgive you little “snags.” They also work as your free advertising agents, recommending you to their friends.

How do you inspire client loyalty?

• Call your clients by name. Remember the things that are important to them.

• “Feed” the clients with positive emotions. Preferably – unexpected ones.

• Surprise them.

• Do courtesy calls after the purchase – ask how the client is doing, if everything is alright with the product, whether they like it.

• Give unexpected gifts and unplanned bonuses.

• Present awards to active clients.

• Look after them.

• Wish them happy holidays.

• Thank them for working with you – both out loud and by writing notes and letters (preferably by hand or at least in a script font and blue ink).

• Educate them, give helpful recommendations.

• Invite them to interesting and/or useful events.

• Ask for advice and thank for it.

• Ask for testimonials and reviews (while a client is writing a positive review, he or she will convince themselves that they have made the right choice).

• Create a “Regular Customer Club.”

• Introduce the Honorary Client title.

• Send out personal invitations (to shows and events in which you participate).

• Provide a warranty that is better than that of your competitors – give the best warranty on the market.

• Call or write in advance and ask if they have any special requests.

• Offer the client a special status – tell them, for example, that you only work with one client in the area or in the industry; that is with him/her.

• Demonstrate that you remember their previous orders or purchases; enter their preferences into the database and take them into account when you work with the client.

• Try to have the same employee work with the client (“a personal manager”), who will remember the peculiarities and problems of this particular client.

• Warn them of your “snags” in advance and compensate for the inconvenience.

• Provide small services for free in the course of working with the clients.

• Call every once in a while and ask what you can improve so the client likes working with you even better.

How to Make Repeat Sales

Many business people are shy of bothering their clients and thus not only lose sales, but actually do not look after their clients by not letting them know of promotions and new opportunities. So, what is the right thing to do?

• Do not be afraid to use your database to sell.

• Do regular mailings – no less than once a month (once a quarter for complex B2B). The clients are usually busy with their own affairs; they do not remember where they bought things and end up looking for a new vendor on the Internet. Remind them of yourself – your mailings or a series of letters will keep or bring back the clients to you.

• Call using the following model prior to beginning your promotion. Write out a script for the call for your employees and monitor calling by recording and listening to their conversations with the clients.

• Sell a line of products (everything the client might need before, during and after using your product or service).

• Offer bonuses, discount coupons and gifts.

• Remind clients to make their next purchase before the previous one has expired (for scheduled purchases). Make the calls using customer care as a pretext.

• Inform the client of other products and services: for example, list other services you provide on the final invoice. Alternatively, you can put several special offers on the back of a receipt. You can make a list of your additional services on a separate flyer and insert it with the bills you send out. Very often your clients are simply not aware that you provide other products and services besides the ones they have bought.

Correct Use of Mailings to Ensure Repeat Sales

• Regular (you can select the mailing cycle yourself or let your clients choose).

• Useful (articles, books, recommendations, advice) or entertaining (humor, stories) content should comprise 80% of the mailing. Your advertising should be no more than 20%.

• Voluntary subscription.

• Option to unsubscribe.

• Special sales offers (promotions, bonuses, gifts to subscribers, lotteries).

• Personalization (the offer should correspond to the customer’s gender and interests).

How to Make Scheduled Calls to Clients to Induce Them to Buy From You Right Away

• Have a reason for your call: new products, special offer or an event for regular customers.

• Emphasize the client’s “special status”: “Just for you. You are the first one I called.”

• Make a special offer: a special service day, for example, or a promotion, a holiday, a gift.

• Without fail have restrictions either by time or by amount of the offer, just make sure you have a reason for the restrictions.

Create Advertising That Your Clients Will Keep for Years

Some businessmen still try to attract clients the same old way – by offering a discount, killing their profits in the process. However, no client will bother coming back to you for a five-percent discount. Clients go for discounts in advertising less and less every day: if the savings are small – they make no difference. Large savings, on the other hand, raise reasonable doubts: “They probably jacked the price up and are now offering a discount off the jacked price.”

You have a much better option to earn customer loyalty – offer them a gift instead of a discount. It might be a type of bonus, when you offer this particular interesting gift with a purchase directly in your ad. The important thing is for the bonus to be useful to the client, to be perceived as much more valuable than its actual cost and to be of good quality. Many people are willing to go all the way to another town for such a bonus, being very partial to freebies. Some customers, on the other hand, are willing to buy something they do not really need, just to get the bonus.

You remember the joke about the gift store?

– How much is that teddy-bear?

– We don’t sell it separately. We are doing a promotion – buy this perfume for fifty dollars and get the hand lotion and the teddy-bear as a gift!

– I don’t need perfume, just sell me the bear.

– Alright. The bear is fifty dollars and you get great perfume and hand lotion as a gift!

– Thank you, let me have two then!

Such impulsive purchases for the sake of a gift often happen in real life, especially with women. Another good idea is to offer an additional service after the purchase.

However, in the long run the most profitable advertising technique that often leaves an indelible impression on your client and easily starts the word-of-mouth campaign is a surprise gift. Do you remember how you waited for a Christmas morning when you were little and ran to the tree to see what Santa Claus brought you? Imagine that someone gave you something valuable right now. How would you feel?

Naturally, in this case you do not offer the customer a choice between a discount and a gift. Discounts are good off the amount of purchase or to your regular VIP clients, while a gift can be given “just because” or for a holiday. In this case the growth of customer loyalty is impacted by the factor of an unusual surprise that generates the feelings of joy and wonder, the so-called “wow effect.”

How to Choose Gifts that Work with Your Advertising

Often gift-givers make the mistake of giving the customer cheap unsaleable products that can only annoy. However, you cannot give your customers cut-rate, trashy things – it is better to give a smaller, but very high-quality gift. It must be perceived as expensive and useful.

When we buy “a pennyworth” of product, we are ready to possibly trash it in a few days. For a gift with your advertisement, however, this is unacceptable for three reasons:

1) The customer will be disappointed in you, trashing the cheapie that you gave them;

2) You are giving a gift in order to keep your contact information in front of the client for years, reminding them of your products and services and motivating them to come back to you again and again;

3) Only an interesting, useful, high-quality gift will motivate the client to talk about you and recommend you to their friends.

Another mistake is even more common – the gift-givers only put their company name and logo on the gift. Unfortunately, unless you are Coca-Cola, this is not enough – you need all your contact information and information about what you do. You can put all that information even on a plush toy by pinning a tag or a pin with your contact info on it, for example.

It would be great if you can think of an original gift associated with your business. For an auto shop, for example, that might include various car accessories – something that the customers are willing buy. Car dealerships, for example, almost always give license plate frames with their contact information. Car enthusiasts are usually happy with outdoor gifts: a grill, a throw, a folding chair or folding table, a beach ball or a sun shade, etc.

In a discussion after my presentation at the AutoForum – the Auto Service conference on November 22-24, 2012 the General Director of Karlak Auto Service Mikhail Dyadkin from St. Petersburg shared a story about how two years ago they gave their clients inexpensive, but very good quality branded cables. For the next two years, these cables have been literally “dragging” new clients to their shop.

Think of what branded gifts you have at home? At your friends’ homes? What did you like? What do you use? What did you buy that you think you would be glad to get as a gift? Ask your friends – they are sure to have a lot of ideas about what will make your clients happy. Naturally, you can copy ideas from other businesses.

What Gift Can You Brand and Give? What Types of Gifts Are There?

• Packaging that can be re-used at home or in the office: cookie cans and jars, pretty boxes, bags, honey jars;

• Souvenirs: stickers, magnets, frames, pins, keychains;

• Stationary: pens, address books, organizers, pen and pencil holders, folders, binders, hole punchers, staplers;

• Educational and entertaining materials: books, brochures, CDs, DVDs;

• Clothing and accessories: tote bags, T-shirts, caps, scarves;

• Household items: beer openers, cups, mugs, flashlights, USB drives, coverlets, throws, chests, vases, clocks, photo frames, umbrellas, wallets, money holders, dish racks, mouse pads, tape measures, tools, outdoor toys.

• Health and beauty products: cosmetics, bath salts, nail travel kits, hand mirrors, shower kits, travel kits – a bag with jars.

• Games and toys: RC cars and helicopters, puzzles, board games, toys, balls, outdoor sports equipment;

• Personalized documents: certificates, awards, diplomas. This is a very interesting gift. Surprising as it may seem, an “Our Favorite Customer” diploma brings much more joy than some useful household item.

Which Gift to Choose?

• Select several possible gift options. Do not make the decision yourself, though – you are not your client.

• In an informal conversation, ask your clients which gift they like better. It is better not to ask a client about their gift directly, but ask for general advice, for example: “We are choosing a gift for vendor employees, do you think this is better or that?”

• Account for the cost of the gift by adding a percentage to the price of your product or service, usually 1-3%. Look for an opportunity to get these gifts cheaply, at wholesale prices, or maybe even by ordering them from a manufacturer in China.

• Print or engrave all your contact information (website, phone number and address), company name and logo. Your slogan (no more than seven words) must answer the question “what will the client get?” or “why should they choose you?”

• Make several trial pieces for different versions of printing or engraving and order them from different companies. Check the lettering for durability. Place your order with the company that has the best quality.

• If the gift requires packaging, order it to be in your company colors and make sure to print not only your company name and contact information, but also client benefits when working with you. At the very least, use the cheap version and print your advertisement with all your contact information on sticky paper and paste it on the box.

• The packaging must be re-usable by the client.

How to Give Your Gifts?

• Make sure to think up and make your employees memorize a “skit” – a phrase they have to say when they present your gift to the client.

• Monitor your employees, so that the gifts are actually given to the customers instead of being forgotten in the back or, worse, stolen.

• First of all, give gifts to your most profitable clients and to those, who are active in social networks – those who have a lot of friends and who are most likely to share their experience, that is – to advertise you.

• If you are giving gifts on a general holiday (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day), differentiate yourself from other gift-givers and give your gift a few days earlier or later, so that people recognize you and remember.

Be creative in your promotional marketing, surprise and please your clients and they will thank you with their loyalty and excellent recommendations.



Select and write down gifts that work with your advertisement appropriate in your line of business.



Packaging that can be re-used at home or at the office


Souvenirs, stationary


Custom business cards (preferably with a special offer, a password and other important information; you can make a business card that looks like a book with useful text)


Educational or entertaining materials


Clothes and accessories


Household items


Health and beauty products


Games and toys


Personalized documents




1. Make repeat sales by working with the client database.

2. Create a loyalty program.

3. Give gifts with your advertising.

Date of publication: 24 January 2018
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