What You Mean To Your Customers
By Dean Williams (Print-Print.co.uk)
You’ve heard the saying "it takes seven times as much work to create a new buyer as it does to sell to an existing one", and you know the value of a loyal customer.
Every business dreams of building an army of ambassadors, who recommend their products and services with almost fanatical zeal, who wouldn’t dream of going to the competition to shave a few pennies or even pounds off the deal.
Do you know what it is that creates an ambassador customer, though? It’s simpler and more complicated than you might think. Simpler, because it can be summed up in two words: personal relationships.
Trickier, because each of those relationships are individual, requiring different approaches and an investment of time. Get it right and you add value to your customers in a way that means something to them and their business. You become not just a supplier but a trusted friend, confidant and advisor. Get it wrong and you could come across as sleazy or corrupt.
Finding your client’s hidden values
If you’re familiar with benefits driven marketing, you’ll know the difference between looking at your product or service from your point of view and your customer’s. You already know the value you provide to your customers, whether that’s time or money saved, a process simplified, or the peace of mind knowing your products are high quality every time.
That’s your general value, though. Look at your customers individually, and ask yourself why each one buys from you, rather than the competition. Is it because you’re closer, deliver cheaper, or because you make life easier for them in some way?
Make a customer list and note what working with you means to each of them. You might find recurring reasons, but you’ll also find some individual ones too. Put yourself in their shoes, and if you’re not sure of the answer, ask them. You might discover some things you’re doing right you weren’t even aware of, and some places where you can improve, all of which will help you with the next step.
Fulfilling hidden values
Once you know your client’s hidden values, you’re armed with information to help you create loyal customers by first over delivering. So for instance, if you offer printing services and you learn your client uses you because the price is good but they have difficulty getting the designs right, you might have the skills to create some designs for them free of charge. Or you might be able to put them in touch with another client who is a designer.
This way, you’re providing core value in your own products, adding value in a service provided free of charge, and cementing the human relationships that underpin your business relationship.
That’s doing it the right way, throwing in a bonus that adds value to your client’s business. The wrong way? Throwing in a ‘sweetener’ that ends up in the back pocket of a client’s employees.