“I know,” the teller replied, offering no explanation.
“Do you plan to fix it?”
She shrugged with complete indifference.
Maybe I should change banks, but there’s a good chance a new bank will be worse, so I stick with the “devil I know.”
Consumers tolerate more than they should because the alternative could be worse.
Entrepreneurs battle this fear with every new customer we seek. Getting a prospect who does not know you to part with their hard earned money is no easy task.
That’s why it’s relatively easy to sell additional products and services to your customers compared to a prospect. In fact, an existing customer is 60–70% more likely to buy from you than a new prospect who is only 3–20% likely to buy.
This is intuitive, yet most business owners completely neglect the low hanging fruit in their business — their customers.
They wish their customers would return, but instead focus their marketing on new customer acquisition.
This often happens because it is more profitable for the ad salesmen to sell non-measurable brand advertising that targets new prospects, even though following up with past customers can be more profitable for the business owner. See Part One for more on this.
“Follow-up” is a term that covers the multiple ways you can keep in touch and deliver offers to you customers and prospects.
Follow-up, as prescribed in the Complete Marketing Blueprint™, is where you will generate income.
It is usually more profitable to begin with customer follow-up when building your marketing system. It’s also easier, so we will begin there and later I will introduce prospect follow-up.
There are two components of the follow-up component of your marketing system.
They are Trust Building and Offers. They can be delivered separately, but there is often overlap between the two components.
People do business with those they know, like and trust, and they rarely trust anyone who is selling. We have been scammed one too many times to blindly believe marketing messages.
Trust does not come by chance. You must include trust building elements into your marketing. Follow-up lets you develop the relationship with your customers so when they need your services, you are perceived as the expert.
Never forget that you are in a dating relationship with your customers. If you do not give them attention, someone one else will.
But first let me state obvious. The most critical trust building quality is to always deliver what you promise. That should go without saying, but it’s actually rare.
You will stand out from your competitors and build trust with friendly and/or informative follow-up communication.
If your customers only hear from you when you’re selling, they will eventually tune you out — just as you ignore the spam in your inbox.
Instead, you want your customers looking forward to hearing from you.
Most people open their mailbox disappointed to find the usual pile of bills and junk mail.
On the other hand, imagine how they feel when they get that rare birthday card or personal letter? It’s usually the first piece of the pile they open.
Craft your follow-up system so your messages create the same desire.
There are various ways to create good will with your customers. Below are a few.
- Holiday & birthday cards
- Interesting newsletters
- Free training
When sending these types of follow-up messages, keep in mind that you are trying to build a relationship with your customers. People will enjoy personal correspondence from you more than business tips.
For example, an attorney will gain more good will sending customers a postcard from his Hawaiian vacation than when sending a brochure explaining the benefits of forming a corporation.
Remember, people do business with those they know, like and trust. Help them get to know you.
If all you do is send personal correspondence, your customers will like you, but it won’t help establish you as the expert in your field.
In addition to friendly correspondence, you must also demonstrate your expertise. An effective way to do that is by sending tips, articles and other free training that help educate your customers about your field.
By sending helpful tips and information you become a consumer advocate and perceived somewhat like Consumer Reports magazine.
The more you can educate and help your customers, the more you will be seen as an advisor instead of salesmen.
Offers are the second follow-up component. Not only must you follow-up with friendly and helpful correspondence, you must also present offers.
Offers is where you will make money, but it’s where many business owners get timid. At some point in your follow-up system you have to make an offer and every effective offer includes three critical attributes:
3. Call to action
A common mistake is to send weak follow-up messages that force the reader to figure out what you’re selling instead of coming out with courage and offering something irresistible.
Your offer must include a clear message presenting a specific product or service.
For example, an attorney’s advertisement for “estate planning services” is too vague. The offer will ideally be for one product or service like, “Draft your will for $500.”
If you look at phone book advertisements, very few, if any, offer anything specific. Then check your mail for Valpak coupons and you will see a mix of advertisements.
Usually the local advertisers send weak brand messages with no specific offer. Yet others, usually the national advertisers, include specific offers such as, “Buy three tires and get the fourth free.”
You might also find more sophisticated, lead generation offers promoting something free without purchase, but we will get into that in Part Three. For now, remember that your advertisements need to offer something specific.
Humans are interesting; to some degree, we only want what we cannot have.
Every Las Vegas nightclub ropes off a corner of the club with a big mean bouncer to restrict entry. As soon as they label it VIP and restrict admission, everyone wants in an area that previously had no value.
Diamonds, for example, have no inherent value and limited utility. However, diamonds are incredibly expensive because the supply has been intentionally limited to create demand.
Scarcity sells, so every offer must include a deadline or limited supply.
An example of a deadline is, “Offer ends December 22.”
An example of scarcity is, “Offer limited to the first 100 customers.”
But it’s not that easy. When you create arbitrary deadlines, consumers will see through them. A smart marketer includes a credible reason why the offer includes a deadline.
If you offer live, in-person seminars, the real limit is the number of people who can fit in that room. When you switch that same seminar to an online webinar, the limit becomes less obvious. However, when you explain that the webinar software is limited to 100 people, the scarcity becomes real.
Never assume that the reason for the scarcity or deadline will be obvious. Always explain it. You cannot assume they will figure it out on their own.
Whenever I walk into a department store and see “50 percent off,” I immediately think, “It’s 50 percent off now and it will be 50 percent next week too.” It’s not believable and does not drive me to take action.
If your customers do not believe your offer, they will ignore it. The more you validate your offer, the more seriously your prospects will take it.
Call to action
Finally, every offer must include a “call to action” explaining how to take advantage of the offer. Do not be timid by leaving it up to your prospects to assume what to do. Provide clear and specific instructions directing them what to do next.
Here are some examples
- Call 1–800-555‑5765 now to order
- Click the link below to order
- Enter your name and email below to receive your book