Don’t be a stranger to your customers

The smart and successful business realises that marketing to and cultivating relationships with existing customers is essential to your business success.

It is a big mistake to be overly focused on getting new customers while neglecting your existing customers. In our acquisition focused world, we make considerable efforts to win over new prospects, yet we tend to ignore the very people who essentially fund our acquisition efforts in the first place.

Don’t be a stranger to your client base. Why?

  1. It’s becoming more and more expensive to acquire new customers. It used to be that when acquiring a new customer, you could immediately make a profit or at least break even. Today, attracting a new customer is more difficult and costs seven times as much as keeping an existing one.
  2. There are a finite number of new customers available. If you only focus on acquisition, eventually you will run out of new customers. Plus, your business is in trouble if you are losing existing clients faster than you acquire new ones.
  3. Fact! Most clients leave businesses because of neglect. Customers migrate when they feel unappreciated, unimportant, or taken for granted. Research shows that seventy percent switch because of what they perceive and describe as indifference from the business or from an individual inside the business.

It stands to reason that if you strategically plan your business to retain, nurture and grow the value of your existing customers, you will grow your business and ultimately profits.

How do you achieve this?

  • Don’t wait for your existing customers to return to you, go to them.
  • Make your customer feel important, appreciated and respected.
  • How often you make contact with a customer depends largely on your product or service. If you sell cars you would probably send a letter once or twice a year. If you sell a product or service that requires more frequent purchase, make your customer contacts more frequent.
  • View client retention as a marketing function and a profit center. Don’t view money spent on existing clients as an expense, view it as an investment.
  • Whenever a customer makes a purchase, make a follow-up phone call to them. Let them know how you appreciate their business.
  • Have a lost client plan in place. Track your customer’s buying activity. When a client stops buying, send that customer a letter with a great offer or pick up the phone to find out why the customer is no longer purchasing from you. And don’t give up in your efforts to win them back.
  • Offer preferential treatment to existing customers. Ensure that your existing customer base receives the best prices, deals and guarantees you can afford to give.

Your existing customers are your most important asset; they are your business goldmine. If you want to grow your business and profits, neglecting them is one marketing mistake that you never want to make.

Business growth strategy #1 – Stay in touch with your customers.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

Inch by Inch – How to claw your way to success

One of the most inspirational speeches that I’ve ever seen is Al Pacino’s “Inch By Inch” speech from the movie Any Given Sunday (see it on YouTube). I use it in many of my sales and marketing seminars.

Allow me to share with you a few of the powerful phrases from his speech. You find out that life is just a game of inches. So is football. Because in both games, life or football, the margin for error is so small. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. Because we know that when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the f#%*ing (censored) difference between WINNING and LOSING between LIVING and DYING.”

Why are these words so powerful, because Pacino could easily have been talking about sales? Selling is also a game of inches. Sales people win or lose by the narrowest of margins on opportunities each and everyday. The winner gets the spoils, the loser nothing, except an opportunity to learn, reassess and practice resilience. These lessons aside, winning is so much better.

The upside is that in the competitive sales world of complex sales opportunities, the inches we need are everywhere around us. Most people quit when they are inches from the proverbial try line of success. How many sales people:

  • Give up after they are rejected the first time? Practice resilience, believe that NO means NOT NOW! It takes seven NO’s before you should feel that a customer is probably not going to buy from you.
  • Effectively articulate and demonstrate the true benefits and value of their product or service offering? Are you educating prospects with new ideas and initiatives? This could be the inch that you are missing between failure and success.
  • Clearly demonstrate a potential return on investment? Your ability to quantify the impact and paint a clear, persuasive, and believable picture of the results you can achieve for buyers is the foundation to all your sales success. When you achieve this, then the decision maker is in no doubt that they must buy from you.
  • Listen to prospects. Do you actively listen to buyers by asking engaging questions and following up with documents that demonstrate your understanding? This is probably the number one differentiator that separates winners from second-place finishers.

I can attribute so much of my personal success in selling, negotiating and persuasion to the above four factors. These factors show me where the vital inches are and what I need to do to ensure that they fall into my hands. “Because we know that when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the f#%*ing difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING and between SELLING and BEING OUTSOLD.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

11 Words that make a big difference

The words you use to communicate with your clients are very important, whether in your advertising, presentations, brochures, letters, on websites or even in telephone or face to face conversations.

Below are 11 words that you should consider incorporating into all of your communications.

Easy – Everyone wants stuff that’s easy. We want things to be easy to use, we want results that are easier to achieve, and we want everything easy. If your product or service makes peoples’ lives easier, make sure you tell them.

Now – There comes a point when you need to direct, lead or tell your customer what to do. They need to call you, or order from you or “click here”. But you don’t want them doing it tomorrow or next week. You want them to do it now – so tell them.

Fast – We all want things to happen faster. If you can do it fast – tell them. Remember, it’s no longer the big that beat the small; it’s the fast that beat the slow.

Free – This is very powerful. People love anything that’s Free. This word is definitely useful in generating new sales leads and prospects.

Limited – If there is a genuine limit to what you are offering or the number of people who can have it; it’s worth making a big deal about that. Scarcity is a very important marketing tool.

New – Everyone wants the “new” thing. Always try and offer something “new” as that is guaranteed to grab their interest.

No Risk – Anything you can do to reduce the risk for your customers will increase your sales. Your customers may not be consciously thinking about it, but subconsciously they might be concerned about risking money and possibly time by doing business with you. Risk elimination, or even better, risk reversal, is one of the most effective marketing strategies available to you.

Guaranteed – The ultimate risk elimination or reversal is the guarantee. Just adding a guarantee to your advertising or offer can often dramatically increase sales.

Solve – One of the simplest copy writing formulas is to state the customer’s problem, tell them you can solve it and then tell them precisely how you’re going to solve it. Check all of your copy both online and offline and look for where you can add these profit generating words. It’s even worth testing your current response rates against different copy using these words.

You – The magic word in all good copy. Using the word “you” forces you to have a personal conversation with the person reading it. Don’t you agree?

Person’s Name – In most contexts, the most important word you that you can use is the customer’s name. The more personalised your letters and emails are, the higher the response.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za

How to become a trusted advisor to all the clients you serve

The number one goal in business today is to set yourself apart in the eyes of your marketplace as their most trusted advisor. You must position yourself as the preeminent authority and expert of the niche that you dominate and own.

Your clients want to be led by you. Never allow somebody to buy less than they should, less quantity than they should, less quality than they should, with less commitment than they should or in less combination because they will be the loser, they will not be served by doing it. You must see them as your “client” not your “customer”.

What is the difference between a customer and a client? Webster’s dictionary states that a customer is “someone who buys a product or service from another”.  A client on the other hand is “someone who is placed under the protection of another”. These are only words, but they make a huge difference. Imagine if your top twenty customers not only viewed you as their “trusted advisor”, but that they also felt safe under your “total protection”. Your business would never fail.

I recommend the following business and personality traits to become the preeminent trusted advisor in your marketplace:

  1. Be the trusted advisor for life. This is the personality trait of the expert who wants to help you for a lifetime.
  2. Be honest. The trusted advisor tells them what they’re not being told. “Here’s the truth as I see it and what action I think you should take because of that.”
  3. Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Display flaws to prove that you’re human too. When you’re more human, people find it easier to relate to you.
  4. Build relationships for life. Treat the relationship you’re building as a long-term investment you’re making in the marketplace.
  5. Be confident. Celebrate your skills, distinctions and uniqueness. Create your proprietary phraseology. Take certain words and make them your own.
  6. Offer risk reversal. Eliminate their risk by pointing out the overlooked risks and dangers.
  7. Always challenge status quo thinking. Always be looking for a better way. Establish your distinctive perspective. See yourself as an agent of change.
  8. You are a brand. Revere your own brand equity and continually add to it and use it as a vehicle to reassure clients and prospects.
  9. You become who you hang around with. Associate yourself with people who have incredible trust and respect. Business in the future will primarily be based on partnerships, joint ventures and strategic alliances. Leverage the right mentors and advisors.
  10. Hire the best. But pay them strictly on performance and results.

Most people fall in love with their product instead of their prospect. Never let this happen to you!

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

Visit John at www.brandstorm.co.za and subscribe to his free newsletter.

Do you need a speaker who will educate and inspire at your next industry conference or a trusted advisor who will increase profits, multiply sales and magnify marketplace positioning?                                                      

Contact John today – john@brandstorm.co.za