November 24, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Be Thankful

Last week we discussed retention of current clients versus acquisition of new customers. We should all be thankful for those clients who remain loyal to us. Those clients should be happy if they remain loyal, and they should be the best source of referrals for our businesses. If they are not happy, what we doing to make them happy?

Clients are not mindless sheep and should never purchase anything that they do not need or want. There are items that clients need, and there are others that they want. It should be easy to market a product that a prospect needs; it is harder to market one that a prospect only wants.

An item that is needed will not have attached excuses to prevent the purchase. An item that is only wanted will have all sorts of excuses to prevent the purchase. Prospects that want your product or service may be reluctant to purchase from you if they do not perceive any benefits from your offering. That offering must be matched with the “feeling” that the prospect gets from the buying experience and from your marketing.

Clients that purchase what we offer should be appreciated and be told that we are thankful for their loyalty. If they never buy anything from us again, it may be because of a lack of need for what we have to offer. It may also be because they also don’t want what we have for them. It might be because that they do not believe that we were thankful for their business. We cannot let that happen, ever.

We must tell our clients that they are important to us. How could we allow them to believe that they are not? We must make them aware that they mean more to us than a quick sale. We must show our appreciation for them as clients but also as human beings. We must make them comfortable with the relationship, not just as a client, but also as networking partners. Clients should be more than customers.

Are you thankful when a client tells you something that you don’t care to hear, when they complain about something that your business did, or did not do? How do you react to a client complaint, whether it is mild or heated? Do you investigate the problem, determine what to do, if anything, and tell the client what you decided? Do you take action to make up any difference to the client, or do you even respond to them?

We must show our appreciation to our clients for their loyalty. We must also show our appreciation for their referrals of others to us. The referral may be a new prospect, it may be a “slam dunk” customer possibility, or it may be a referral of someone who provides something else for us. We must be thankful for these referrals of all sorts. If we ignore referrals from our clients, we will lose the possibility of getting any more.

Clients are important to us for so many reasons. They provide a source of income for our business directly from their purchases, and they provide referrals to us that also may put money into our pockets as those prospects become customers. Whatever the outcome of a client’s buying experience, make sure that the experience is a great one.

We must be thankful for our clients. Make the effort to turn your customers into clients through showing your thankfulness for their relation to our businesses. Whether it is a purchase, their referral, or their advice, be thankful for your clients. Please leave me your comments here on this posting, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at I am always very thankful for your input at all times.

November 17, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Retention VS Acquisition

Recently I had a discussion with a business owner who told me that his main marketing objective was acquisition of new customers. He said that he had read every book, watched every DVD, listened to every CD, and participated in every webinar or seminar that he could find regarding selling his services to someone new.

This person prospected for new customers every way he could; he made hundreds of cold calls each day, sent out hundreds of emails, even sent mass mailings on a regular basis. He was a selling machine everywhere he went, and demanded that his employees do the same as he did. He tried to sell to new customers 24 hours per day.

I asked him how successful his business was, and he told me that he was struggling and was considering firing all the employees he still had (several had quit) and closing the business. When asked how he liked selling, he admitted that he hated everything about it. As to his personal life, he said that his wife was leaving him.

When I asked him how much he spent in time, effort, and money to acquire new customers, he said that he had no real idea, but that it was a lot. I asked him how his new customers learned of his business, and he said that he didn’t track that information. Just like every expense, all businesses should know their marketing costs, including time, effort, and money. (Do not forget the time required.)

It costs roughly 10 times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing client. This person admitted to me that he never contacted a customer after their initial order. He didn’t bother to thank them for their purchase, never thanked his customers for remaining customers over time (most didn’t), or never thanked any that referred any new customers to him because none did.

Everyone loves to be noticed, and everyone loves to be thanked. Happy, well noticed clients will refer new business and will remain loyal clients over time. While acquiring new customers is important, retaining existing ones is the life blood of all businesses. We business people must learn that retention of existing customers is better for our success in business than the acquisition of new customers.

Appreciation Marketing is a philosophy that will bring success to a business and allow those who practice that philosophy to lead more pleasant, enjoyable business and personal lives. Are you proud of your business and what you do in it? Maybe the time has come for you to try something new in how it operates. Reach out and thank a client today and see how it works. You might also try something similar with your employees.

While customer acquisition is a vital part of business growth, client retention is essential for it to persist and survive. In addition to the tangible results that allow a business to continue to succeed, it provides a means for us to grow and prosper personally. Please leave me your comments here on this posting, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Maybe we should have a chat about this soon.

November 10, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Don’t Be Shy

In a previous life I was a recruiter, working for myself. I was a headhunter who located candidates for my clients’ information technology openings. I worked alone, and my outside contacts were the candidates whom I contacted, the clients to whom I marketed my services, and anyone else with whom I interfaced during business.

I did not have any employees, nor did I have a boss to whom I reported. My motto was “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” My company operated for 10 years, going through ups and downs. I went through lots of times of worry and stress, and I learned a lot from my experience, both the good and the bad.

Fortunately, I had a friend who mentored me during the start of my company and during its operation. He guided me, advised me, and listened to me. He had experience in the industry and shared what he knew with me. We shared contacts, candidates, and practices. He taught me so much, both about the industry and about operating alone.

One of the problems for solo operators is the loneliness. You live your business, and that fact can weigh heavily on you. You must have a life outside of your business. You must get out of your office and interface with other people besides your clients, and in my case, my candidates. There is another world, maybe a family life, which you need to embrace and enjoy. You must stop and smell the roses frequently.

You must also look for, and ask for, help from other people, some of whom should be outside your industry. We have discussed the importance of networking partners and their ability to help you improve your life, both business and personal. You must build this type of network with people that share your business and with those who are in other industries.

Your networking partners should be the type of people who will give you advice before your request it. Also, you must be the type of person who is not afraid, or too shy, to ask for help when you need it. You may not know what type of advice you need or where to get it. You should check your ego and ask someone. Maybe you ask another person for help; maybe you ask someone to connect you with someone else.

Can you overcome your shyness to ask for help? What if you don’t know someone that you believe can help you in your industry? Then you ask someone what they believe you should do, or ask someone whom you should contact. Your networking partners may not have the answers that you need, but they may have their network which may include someone to whom they can refer you.

As business owners/operators we must take care of ourselves. The needs of operating a business can be exhilarating, and they can be difficult to carry alone. You must enjoy yourself and the success that you find. Maybe someone else can help you or maybe they cannot, but you need to ask and then see what happens.

Our networking partners should provide us with the sources that can help us in times of need. Reach out and ask for help, and when someone comes to you, try to help them. Remember to give to others, accept their assistance for yourself, and then repeat the process. Please leave me your comments here, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Overcome your shyness and work with your network.

November 3, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – What Is Your Why?

For years I have believed that anyone who is serious about their business must be professional, passionate, and personal in their business. It does not matter if they are the business owner or an employee, they must believe, and practice, these guidelines if they want to succeed and better themselves. Of course, if they don’t care about their own self-improvement, well, you know some people like that, don’t you?

Professionalism is a must in being successful. You must be professional in your business, including your customer service and your employee relations. The easiest way to define being professional is that you always “do the right thing”, not whatever you contracted to do, but the “right thing” for the circumstance in question.

You must be passionate about what you do. Don’t be the person with multiple business cards for different professions. Pick something, give it all of your passion, and succeed. It’s like having multiple spouses or romantic friends; you cannot be successful in the endeavor until you pick one and center all your attention on that one. Be the person that everyone thinks of when they think of your business industry.

Finally, but not least, you must be personal. “Personalize” your business. Get to know your customers, what do they need, who are they, who are their family members, and what are the events in their lives. Then do the same for your employees. Your business will run better, your sales will grow, and your customer retention will improve. In addition, your employees will work like they own the business.

Behind all of these points is the question, “What is your why?” In other words, what is the reason that you are doing whatever it is that you are doing? Why did you start your business, why did you want to enter the industry in which you are working, why did you pick your business name, if you did, and what is the why behind everything that you do or have? If you have any trouble defining your ‘why”, then you must rethink everything.

Your “why” must come from your heart. It must be something that you can “feel”. If your “why” is that you just “fell into” whatever it is that you are doing, you may not be dedicated to your business, you may not care about your customers or employees, and you will find yourself “just getting by”. Everyone will know that your level of commitment to people is questionable, and this situation is not conducive to long term relations.

If you can believe in your “why” and you reflect that “why” in being professional, being passionate for what you do, and dealing with customers and employees in a personal manner, then you will succeed. Your business will reflect what you are and how your business and personal lives intertwine. People will know you for what you are, someone with whom they wish to do business or with whom they want to work.

The next time someone wants to market anything to you, ask if you would work for that person or be in that person’s family. Good business relationships are like family relationships. Can they last over the long term, or are they just “good enough” for the short term? Please leave me your comments here, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Maybe we can discuss the “why” we do what we do.