Steve Marr Blog

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Category >> Getting and Keeping Customers
Jul 26
2019

Should I Treat all Customer the Same?

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We need to give every customer our full attention and respect. However, this doesn’t mean that we should treat all customers equally every day.

When I was in international trade, I had a customer with whom we had a large account.  He would call me between 8:30 and 8:45 for the sole purpose of talking about the Detroit Lions football game, which was frequently a sad conversation.  Since Mondays were typically pretty busy, I really didn’t have time for a 15 to 20-minute chat about the football game. However, because he was one of my best customers; I took time for a social chat that I would not have spent with others, especially on Monday morning.

There are circumstances when we simply may not have a moment to take extra time. Unfortunately, people generally pick up on our lack of interest. When we cut people off quickly, they become irritated because they believe we don’t care what they have to say. They can tell when we’re anxious to get off the phone or rush through a conversation.  It causes friction that we pay for later. When I face time constraints I can’t change, I may explain to the customer that I have a commitment and will call back at another time to thoroughly discuss their concern or request. 

Jul 18
2019

Free, A Key Marketing Principle

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I happen to like free goods, partly because I’m of Scottish background and I like to be slow to part with the dollar. For example I like going to Costco and I can almost make a free lunch out of the samples offered.  In some instances people are lined up for the free tasty goodie and I have to admit from time to time I’ve actually purchased a new product based on how yummy the sample. The store continues with these offers week after week because the free samples are effective at generating sales at the time and hopefully long-term.

Frequently in marketing we look at the three-tier approach, the shotgun, the rifle shot followed by the scope shot. Frequently a free product is very effective at the wider net of encouraging customers to try your product, and hopefully then graduating into buying paid products. 

Amazon offers free shipping on a wide variety of transactions, including Prime customers and free shipping to all in some circumstances. Amazon’s sales research indicates customers will buy more often and are more likely to return when the shipping is free. I know I hate to pay $20 for product online only to discover that shipping and handling is another $9.95, and typically cancel the transaction. I need to be careful because when I click on an order with free shipping I do have to be careful that I’m not paying more for the product to absorb the shipping but the word free does grab me. Further, according to research by both Amazon and eBay sellers that include free shipping tend to receive higher reviews. One not sure I understand why this would be the case but the research seems valid and therefore we need to pay attention.

Jul 11
2019

Wording Marketing Materials

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I spend a fair amount of time writing. I understand that words matter, even small words. I tell myself that I should labor over words in an article more carefully, but time does not allow me this luxury. However, when I write ad copy; I choose my words more carefully.  I realize that each word creates an image of the business and can gain or lose business. Whether I market on the Internet or through print media, words are my bridge to potential customers.

Jul 04
2019

Follow Up Leads

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Sometimes when I step in to see a prospective customer or make an initial phone call, the business is closed.  If I don’t follow up, I’ve lost a potential customer. What I have learned over the years about following up leads, I now use in a damage restoration business I have an interest in.  When a customer calls because a pipe break caused their living room ceiling to collapse, they’re usually anxious to sign the work order and have our company immediately mitigate the problem. Unfortunately, it’s not always as simple as that. It requires working with property managers, insurance agents, and sometimes referred businesses.

Jun 26
2019

Analyze Customer Needs

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Most salespeople talk too much. They tend to launch into a sales pitch before understanding what the customer needs. King Solomon understood this when he wrote “To answer before listening-- that is folly and shame.” (Proverbs 18:13, NIV) Making your sales pitch before listening to the customer is the same kind of “folly.”

We need to keep in mind that for almost every product or service there are multiple reasons a customer may buy. When we start with the sales pitch, we may or may not hit the mark. A better tactic is to conduct a needs analysis. This is a process were the salesperson endeavors to understand what is important to the customer.