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KNOWLEDGE ZONE -
KNOWLEDGE CENTRE -
Turn Up The Volume
Every plausible definition of good marketing places customers at its heart - whichever way you look at it, whether you love them or loathe them, satisfying them is the surest route to improved sales and bigger profits. Customers feed you, clothe you, and pay your bills.
It is generally accepted that that it is five to six times less expensive to keep a customer rather than to go out and get a new one. Ask anyone with sales experience and they will tell you how much better the atmosphere is and how the sale is made more easily where the two sides have already done business together. They already know you. You already have a relationship. And few, if any are giving you all of their business.
Yet according to research from the Henley Centre, 80% of customers believe they are not valued. Not surprising when you consider that the approach still adopted by many companies is to only make contact when something needs to be sold. We hate to be sold to, but we love to buy!
Add to this research by APA indicating that 67% of lost opportunity is simply through indifference brought about by lack of contact and you can see why, in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace that developing an ongoing dialogue with customers is vital if companies are to succeed. Customers should not be viewed as on-off switches - approached in the right way they are volume dials!
Any company can benefit from developing better dialogue with their customers, and suppliers for that matter. Ongoing dialogue is important, it is the very basis of how, we as human beings communicate. And remember, communication for both supplier and customer is a two-way thing. It’s about listening as well as talking.
In doing so we start to appreciate each customer’s needs and wants, and importantly what motivates them to buy - especially from us. Unintentionally, we start to focus on developing our ‘share of customer’ to sell more to each of our now more loyal and committed customers, to the exclusion of our competitors. A far cry from the old fashioned ‘share of market’ approach still adopted by many.
Although the final objective may appear the same – increased sales and profits, the bottom line reflects something quite different. Ask yourself, which approach has a shorter sales cycle, lower marketing, administrative, advertising and sales costs? Which is more vulnerable to the ups and downs of trend and economic cycles?
Many will say that no matter how good your product and no matter how well you service customers there will always be some level of attrition and therefore generating new customers, is also vitally important. It is, but don’t forget that a satisfied customer is a loyal customer, and a loyal customer tells others about their experience, generating recommendations and referrals in their wake. With so much to be gained, the tools and methods necessary to develop ‘share of customer’ should form an inherent part of any company’s business development strategy.
You may say. “I’ve heard some of that before”? Maybe: but are you acting on it? Most aren’t - and that includes your competitors.
At the end of the day business goes where it’s invited.