In my sales training, I like to reference the great Joe Girard, author ofHow to Sell Anything to Anybody. Joe was in theGuinness Book of World Recordsas the all-time record holder for automobile sales. People would line up at the car dealership just to buy a car from Joe. How’d he do it? He created lasting relationships with his clients by staying connected with them.

He stayed in touch with his customers in the usual customary ways: by sending them birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards … you name it he sent it. Joe recognized the value of consistently staying in touch with his clients.

Depending on your role and your line of work, there are many ways to stay connected with your customers today, especially in this digital age.

The Old, Reliable Phone

I stay in touch with my customers by phone. I give them my cell phone number and encourage them to call me if they have any questions or concerns before or after a sale. I also encourage them to feel free to give my cell phone number to any of their friends or family members that may be in need of my services. Even if someone just has a question, they can call me for some free advice.

Make Your Business Cards Work for You

Even in this digital age, you still need to carry business cards, especially for those traditional customers. I utilize the information on my business card to keep connected to my clients. On the back of my business card there is a $25 referral bonus given to anyone who refers me to a new client. I send out an average of $200 per month in referral bonuses to customers. Sending a customer a referral bonus with a thank you note keeps me connected. I give two business cards to every client when I first meet them. Many times a client will say, “You gave me two cards but I only need one.” I always reply, “Pass one along to a friend.” For your web-savvy customers, including your website and social media links will help them connect with you if you’re online.

Be Thoughtful … Send a Card!

Joe Girard knew this best, that everyone loves to feel appreciated. Acknowledging your customers’ birthdays, sending a personalized thank-you card, or just letting them know that you wish them well is a powerful way to strengthen your relationships and plant a seed for future business. In a world where emails, texts, and status updates are all competing for your customers’ attention, a single card can help you stand out and stay top of mind.

Email, Keep It Simple

We all know that email comes with its share of negatives, like spam and jammed inboxes. But, depending on your customer, it might be an effective communication tool for you to reach them. I like to send simple, weekly emails. Instead of newsletter ads and distracting graphics, I over-deliver on valuable information. I always take the approach of giving my customers an education and pointing them in the direction of other resources to learn more. If they like it, I’ll get good feedback from them and can use this as terrific testimonials.

Utilize Opinion Polls and Surveys

Giving your customers an opportunity to express their opinions on your products, services, or other topics related to your business will deliver the message that you care about what they think. You can publicize the poll results on your company website and use them as unofficial market research to help your company make customer service decisions.

Business Has Become Social

In this digital age, businesses are using social media because business has become social. Today, people are hyper-connected and busier than ever before. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube have become very sophisticated sources of customer service, referrals, and business review tools. If your business is late to the social media table, it is important to decide how effective these modes of communication are for your business and seek an expert to help you devise a social media plan for your market.

I’m certain that Joe Girard’s head spins today at the vast variety of tools and opportunities to stay connected to customers. At the time of this writing, he mostly writes books and lectures. But I’m sure he would agree there’s a useful tool for every business to build relationships with their customers today. I also think he’d very quickly find what works best for his business and his customers and knock it out of the park.