Are you just a piece of trash to your clients?Article added by Paul McCord on August 19, 2014
Paul McCord

Paul McCord

Midland, TX

Joined: March 03, 2014

Traditional thinking says that any time you get your name in front a client, you are "communicating." However, is the prospect's three-second trip to the trash can to ditch your expensive postcard or letter the best the use of your money?

Whether you know it or not, your database of current and past clients is your best source of new clients. Prospecting for a new client is time-consuming and expensive. If you can find a way to increase your sales without the time commitment and expense of cold calling, mass direct mail, advertising or purchasing leads, would you be willing to implement it? Of course you would.

Taking the time and effort to keep in contact with past clients will grow your business through new direct sales to the client and generating referrals to qualified prospects. We salespeople often think that keeping in touch with past clients takes too much time, effort and money. Considering the return on investment, this really is not true — at least for most of us. The key is finding a way to communicate that is time-efficient, relatively inexpensive, and effective.

See also: Prospecting: the definition of insanity

Studies indicate that in order to keep your name at the top of your customer’s mind, you need to “touch” your customer a minimum of 14 times per year — more if at all possible. What is a “touch?” A touch is any communication from you to your client — an email, telephone call, snail mail, postcard, holiday card, in-person meeting, or any other method of getting in front of your customer. If you are communicating with the client, you are touching them.

What is the most effective way to touch your past clients? Studies have shown that there is not a best way, but rather, the most effective client communication programs enlist a number of communication formats. Sending 14 emails a year is better than nothing, but it is not the best way; neither would be sending 14 snail mail pieces or making 14 phone calls. Neither would be sending 14 postcards during the course of the year. However, constructing a campaign using a combination of these methods could be a very effective program. For instance, setting a marketing calendar to send four postcards per year, six emails, two snail mail letters, one phone call and one holiday card during the course of the year allows you to touch your client approximately once every three and a half weeks during the year.
But, what do you send? What do you say 14 times during the course of the year? The content of your communication is just as important as the fact that you sent something. When you communicate with a past client, the fact that you have something in front of a previous customer is not necessarily a good thing in and of itself. Many traditional marketers will disagree. Traditional thinking says that any time you get your name in front a client you are communicating. However, is the client's three-second trip to the trash can to ditch your expensive postcard or letter the best the use of your money? And do you really want your client to think of you as just another piece of trash? Whether or not your communication campaign is effective will depend on what you are communicating.

If you send junk just to send something, your customer will quickly learn to ignore you and your communication attempts, and everything you send will cause a trip to the trash can. On the other hand, if your communications offer something of interest and value, you will train your client to pay attention to you. The most basic question to ask before sending anything is, “Does this add value for me (that is, is it me-oriented), or does it add value for my client (client-oriented)?” If the answer isn’t that it primarily adds value for your client, you have a communication worthy of going straight to the trash.

Which would you rather have: a client who ignores you or one who pays attention to you? I assume you would rather have a client who pays attention to you. To train your clients to pay attention and, therefore, to keep you at the top of their mind, you must figure out how to send them communications that give them value. Can you offer a special for them or someone they refer to you? Can you provide them an annual or semi-annual update on their purchase? Can you send or email them articles of interest that relate to their purchase, their business, or an interest of theirs? What you send does not have to be large or costly — it just needs to be of value to the client.

A program such as this requires thought and considerable customization of content, but the payoff can be enormous. Think about what you are sending and what it will — or will not — communicate about you and your business. If you want your clients to think of you and not ignore you, then take the time and the effort to make sure you are sending value. If you are not sure it has value, it probably does not. Marketing to your client database should be at the top of your to-do list, and your campaign should be constructed with the thought and care as if you were communicating with the most important people in the world — because for you, they are.
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