Tap into a real goldmine: Your customer database
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, January 1, 2010
What is your most valuable business asset? Would it be your: Inventory? Equipment? Cash? Real Estate? Special process? A patent or trademark? Employees?
Above are answers most given by owners and company executives. But if you answered any of the above you are ... wrong.
The No. 1 asset in any business is: Your customers.
You can survive the loss of any business asset except your customers. Every asset you have but one can be replaced. You would be inconvenienced and possibly lose a lot of money. But, with your customer list intact, overnight you could start over again.
It’s truly amazing how few entrepreneurs fully appreciate the value of their customer list. A relatively small percentage consistently act toward building their database — and nurturing it. It will cost you five to 10 times as much money to attract a new customer than to sell to an existing one. Once fully understood, you can act toward multiplying your success many fold.
Here is the fastest ticket I know toward building a business that will provide you great wealth: Develop a strategy that will build a database of your best prospects — and, of course, your customers. And contact them regularly.
Assuming those who have done business with you are pleased with their original purchase, they are your best prospects for future purchases. Your main business goal should be to create a list of happy customers. Many of them will become raving fans who will recommend you to others. You then can sell them a continuous flow of related products and experience continuous growth and prosperity.
There are just three ways to build any business:
Increasing the number of customers or clients
Increasing the value of the average transaction
Increasing the frequency of re-purchases
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to design systems and programs that surround these three categories of growth strategies. Here are just a few ways to improve each of these key growth areas.
How to attract more customers:
Select a niche market that you can easily reach and dominate
Develop an education-based marketing program that motivates prospects to contact you to learn more about how you can help them
Establish a robust referral program that can open new channels of growth
Give your customers the opportunity to “go on record” by giving you testimonials about your great product and/or service
How to increase average transaction values:
Up-sell your customers to add onto their purchase
Suggest accessories, add-on items and other services that complement your customer’s purchase
Create value-added packages that would cost more if purchased separately
How to increase the frequency of re-purchases:
Maintain ongoing communications to present compelling offers
Follow up with customers to see how they’re enjoying the benefits of their purchase and to suggest products or services to increase their satisfaction
Track your customers’ usage and buying patterns to suggest purchases right before they actually need them (This will effectively keep your competition out of the picture entirely)
Deliver uncommon customer service by going the extra mile
Perform stealth surveys with your customers from time-to-time to gauge their level of satisfaction
Most business owners focus too much time and money on getting new customers when what they should do is spend more time on maximizing the transaction value and laying the groundwork for a repeat purchase. It’s easier and less expensive to sell to an existing customer than a first-time buyer. You don’t have to build trust with an existing customer, so there are fewer obstacles to overcome before the deal is sealed.
The marketing strategy is relatively simple and inexpensive. Each month a postcard, letter, e-mail, phone call or personal visit is made with each person on the list. This strategy produces a steady and profitable stream of new business. In each example, the result of regular contacts, each one containing an interesting and informative sales message, generates a constant flow of new business.
Here are the facts in a nutshell: We all need a living breathing list, a database we nurture regularly. And yes, we are always executing ideas to grow our list with the right niche customers in our market.
Savvy marketers understand it’s all about follow-up and trust building. It works like this: Every two e-mails you add to your follow-up sequence catapult you ahead of a third of your competitors.
If you have a 10-step sequence, you’re in the top 13%.
If you have a 20-step sequence, you’re in the top 2%.
This is not astrophysics; it’s not rocket-science; it’s not really even 'hard’ work (not unless writing e-mails is hard.)
Now it’s time to address and emphasize the 80/20 rule. Treating everyone alike is always a mistake.
That is the real key. Treating them the same, like a massive block of compressed humanity, is not only rude and offensive, but disastrously unprofitable.
Remember: Content is king. This is if you want them to keep reading ... and they will only read what’s important to them. Sorry to say, that’s all they care about — not you or your products. They are only interested in what your products will do for them. Are you getting the points now?
We all know that nobody escapes the 80/20 rule, but we all get to choose which side of the 80/20 tracks to live on.
As seen on CBS “60 Minutes” report on Top-Secret: America’s New Air Force Drones. Every so often in the history of war, a new weapon comes along that fundamentally rewrites the rules of battle. Taking out the dangerous Al-Qaeda with a push of a button from the Nevada Mojave desert. Yea!
This is the type of technology that’s going take the furniture business to new levels. Imagine just a few clicks to search out the customers and prospects to zero in on demand, create top-of-mind awareness and stimulate excitement in the benefits throughout the sales cycle ... ’til voila!
Consequently, the automated follow-up sequence continues, ensuring satisfaction along with referrals — always maximizing the lifetime value of each consumer and energizing our prosperous future.
For the full version of his advice on techniques for marketing your business in the 21st century, visit www.casualliving.com and click on Retail Rescue.