It’s easy to focus all your energy on attracting new business to your company, but don’t forget the goldmine you already have – existing customers. Here are five simple things you can do to ensure you don’t miss all that low-hanging fruit!
You know the rule that says businesses get 80% of their revenue from 20% of their clients? Well it’s true, and those clients are a valuable source of continuing income. However, many businesses spend 60% – 80% of their marketing dollars and time on prospecting and just 20% on existing customers.
That’s a mistake – being 80% focused on existing customers makes far more sense; ignore them and you’ll end up in a situation where the customers that bring in the bulk of your income start to feel undervalued and become dissatisfied. They may very well leave you; even worse, they may go round telling everyone your customer service leaves a lot to be desired. All of which leads up to the next tip:
Maribeth Kuzmeski, President of Red Zone Marketing, a marketing strategist, bestselling author of seven books, and professional speaker said, “I have a client who has been a financial adviser for more than a dozen years. During his first eight years in business before I knew him, he had accumulated $10 million in money under management. He was acquiring 80% of his new clients by prospect marketing. When we began working together, I advised him to add client marketing to the mix. We put together a marketing system that included regular phone and mail communication to his clients, client-focused seminars and events, open houses; a commitment to periodic client reviews, and ongoing client appreciation activities, including notes, letters, cards, gifts and social events. Within three years after putting this client marketing plan in place, his business increased from $10 million dollars to $100 million dollars of money under management. The secret was adding client marketing to the mix. Referrals started to stream in, and they were well qualified and within his niche.”
So, never under estimate the customers you already have and their potential for growth.
A novel concept, huh? It’s all too easy to assume that you know what they want. But unless you’re an extremely gifted mind-reader, you probably don’t. “Clients will consciously and subconsciously rate you on several factors, including satisfaction, delight, service, communication, your staff, etc.,” Kuzmeski says. “How do you think you rate with your clients? Have you ever thought about discovering their level of satisfaction, and what’s really important to them about you and the business? Asking your clients what they want is the best first step to providing the basics of client marketing. Written questionnaires, personal interviews, focus groups, advisory boards, and evaluation forms are all useful tools to determine what your clients expect or desire, and what would delight them.”
“Will clients want to remember the experience they have at your business?” Kuzmeski says. “What is it that sets you apart from and above your competition? I know of a realtor in one of the nation’s fastest growing counties who found the answers to those questions. He has hundreds of competitors, all of whom have access to the same inventory, and whose fees are identical to his. Nevertheless, he’s the first realtor most people in the area call when they’re ready to put their homes on the market.
“Unlike his competitors, he doesn’t just show up when someone wants to buy or sell a house,” she continues. Each spring, every homeowner in the area gets a tiny tree from him to replant in their yards and, in October, a pumpkin, with a note from him, appears on every front porch. In mid-summer, his antique fire engine, loaded with neighborhood kids, is at the head of the local Independence Day parade. Yes, he spends more to market his services than others do, but it isn’t a business expense, it’s an investment - one that pays rich dividends, year after year. He’s become the top realtor in his area because he does what his competitors don’t do: he creates experiences.”
“If you tend to sit around and wait for clients to contact you, you’re missing out on some great opportunities to really cement your relationships,” says Kuzmeski. “Right from the start, plan to wow your clients with a program of proactive communications that will surprise and delight them. In today’s world, the more frequently you contact them, the better the relationship is likely to be. Take the time to regularly contact them, even if the conversation or note is short.”
“With a little imagination and a passionate commitment to service, you can create the kinds of client experiences that transform a ho-hum business into a dynamic, thriving one,” Kuzmeski promises. “I urge you to start right now. ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ may be a cliché, but it’s as true today as it’s ever been. The more you delight your clients from the very beginning, the better your long-term relationship will be . . . and the more your company will profit.”