In Reid Hoffman’s podcast Masters of Scale, he interviewed Brian Chesky from Airbnb and they talked about something that has stuck with me since I heard the segment in 2017, “to scale, do things that don’t scale”.
Today, I’d like to share three things I did to get (and keep) my first customers.
- Meet your customers in person: You must meet with customers/clients in person whenever possible. I understand that is challenging in our pandemic reality and Zoom is a close second choice. But, remember the connections in-person meetings cultivate. You will learn so many valuable insights from this person’s attention that will carry you and your company to the future.
- Follow-up letter: When was the last time you got a piece of mail that was unexpectedly delightful? It’s been a minute for me (read: never). Your first customers want to feel valued and respected. Consider taking a moment to send a follow-up letter personalized with what you talked about and to thank them for taking the time to meet with you.
- Phone call: I hear you! No one calls anyone anymore. But, use the phone to share an article or something that triggered you to think of them, and that customer will be loyal forever.
But, word of caution, none of these tactics will work if you don’t have a quality product/service to back you up.
Here are the key steps for putting together your start-up marketing tools:
- Research potential customers, buyers, competitors, and their preferred methods of distribution.
- Talk to potential customers! Surveys, polls, prototypes – take a hard look at your product from a customer’s perspective and see what it needs to be successful.
- Follow up with your 3-step process from above.
- Develop systems for contact follow through, quality control standards, and customer service.
- Develop a post-sale follow-up system to keep lines of communication open is customers and build on your current relationship which increases future purchases.
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company
I hope this lesson has offered you the tools to put together a start-up marketing plan that can be used over and over again to help your customer base and business grow in a manageable way. The tools offered in our FREE test drive offer these very same things.
Today you’re going to learn how to find a target market of potential customers so you aren’t wasting precious resources on blitz marketing. So, the two questions you have to ask yourself are:
- What do people really want to buy from me?
- What related products are they already buying?
Once you figure this out you will know who is more predisposed to purchase your products/services. Then, you find other businesses with the same customer base who you can customer share with. Come up with an incentive and great arrangement to encourage both of your customer bases to shop at both of your stores.
The basic concept is this:
You want to find existing businesses who have the customer profile that you are looking for to market your products/services to.
Then strike up a relationship with those business owners to work out an incentive for customers to purchase from both businesses.
As a result, you have an audience to market to and they generate an added value from their current base.
So, how do you figure this out? There is a great formula from Jay Abraham you can follow with great success.
LV = (P x F) x N – MC
Here’s what it all means:
- LV = the lifetime value of a customer
- P = the average profit margin from each sale
- F = the number of times a customer buys each year
- N = the number of years customers stay with you
- MC = the marketing cost per customer (total costs/number of customers)
Once you know how much you need to spend to attract a new customer, you will know how much of an incentive you can offer to a business to help attract new customers.
So, here’s your step-by-step process:
- Find companies that already have the customer base you are looking for.
- Negotiate an incentive for them to share that customer base with you.
- Focus your marketing resources on this group of predisposed customers.
If you need help working through this process, check out our FREE test drive for the most comprehensive system of marketing tools and resources.
You may be thinking to yourself, “Educate them about what?”
Entrepreneur and documentary filmmaker, Jia Wertz, says it better than I ever could in the opening sentence of her Forbes article, “Majority of customers visit your website or your brick-and-mortar only one time. Think about that.”
She goes on to explain that means we’re spending all that money to get people in and we get one shot. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but I encourage you to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. I know it feels like a no-brainer but so few businesses create a system to bring back people who already know you and have bought from you.
Consider this: Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality, and branding position.
Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:
- Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in-person, and by pigeon if you have to (lol)!
- Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a ‘Thank You’ note with your contact or customer service information can go a long way in retaining a great customer.
- Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
- Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go a long way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there, and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.
There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:
- Quality product/service
- Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
- Offer subjects your customers find interesting
Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.
Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!
As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every way possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”
Remember, you can access free support by signing up for our training videos. The videos can help you educate your customers and watch their lifetime value go up and your revenues pay off many-fold.
You may be asking yourself, “why is she mentioning the Kardashians on her business website?” I promise, it fits in beautifuly as we’re talking about shameless self-promotion. Love it or hate it; entrepreneuriship is all about self-promotion.
Consider some of the significant personalitites we all know like the Kardashians, Oprah, Drew Barrymore, Gwyneth Paltrow, and LeBron James, to name a few. They are all natural promoters of what they have to offer the world.
Here are lessons I learned from the Kardashians:
- Position. Position yourself around people who can make a difference in your life. Ask yourself, “Who can I meet today who will make a difference in my success?” Maybe go a step further and remind yourself by writing it in big, bold letters on your bathroom mirror.
Who can help me meet my goals?
Is it a prospective customer/client? A colleague with contacts? An association with key members who may become prospects?
Don’t settle into interacting with the people who are the easiest to access. You need to reach outside your comfort zone and there you will find a wealth of new connections that will bring you great success.
- Style. No, this doesn’t mean you need to wear CHANEL to bring in more business (though let’s be honest, look at this bag! W.A.N.T.). But, what this really means is how are you different from your competitors and others in your industry. What makes you memorable with customers?
If you meet people and they don’t remember you once you leave the room, you have a serious problem.
Consider subtle changes to your
– Business cards
– Company messaging
– And, tighten up your elevator pitch to make a bigger impact.
- Repetition. This is the third trait of natural promoters. You can’t say it once and leave it at that. Successful self-promoters say it as many times as they need to until they get a response.
You, also, have to make multiple impressions on those you are networking with in order to build brand awareness. Repetition is in direct connection with positioning. Once you find people to network with, reach out and find hundreds more who can help in your success as well.