Differentiation is vitally important to your business success because it helps you keep your customers coming back time after time.
Do you realise that most companies replace the majority of their customers every five years? Businesses in general lose at least 10% of their customers every year. Thus, every five years the average business must replace at least half its customer base. Why? What happens to these customers? Let’s take a look:
3% move away or die.
5% are led by their friends to buy elsewhere.
9% of customers stop buying because a competitor provides a better offer.
14% of customers defect because they’re dissatisfied with the product or service.
68% of customers stop buying because of indifference. In other words, they don’t think anyone cares about them. This apathetic attitude to customers when they have become a ‘customer’ is the key reason they leave you.
Now here’s the interesting fact: Most businesses fight over one of the smallest percentages of defecting customers. They chase the 9% who are looking for a better price. It makes no sense because even if you’re successful at capturing a “price sensitive” customer, you can be sure they’ll defect as soon as a competitor offers a lower price. Let your competitors fight over the price shoppers. Spend your time where the value-conscious customers meet!
Consider the 14% of customers who are dissatisfied. Do you think you could reduce that percentage just by staying in touch with your customers and asking them about their level of satisfaction? The answer is yes.
But wait! Two-thirds of customers are defecting because of indifference. You can make a huge impact by differentiating your business and making sure that every customer knows that you are sincerely interested in serving them. Not just today, but forever.
Here are some ideas that will help you differentiate your business and keep more of your customers.
Promote your new products and services to your existing customers.
List your products and services on your direct mails, your linked-in accounts, your business cards, your packaging, your Facebook and Twitter business accounts and other marketing links. Don’t leave it up to your customers to know your product line!
Get to know your top customers, the 5, 10 or more who spend the most money with you.
Whether they are retail customers or on-line shoppers, get to know them! By the way, these are the people who will give you referrals that will help build your business faster than any other method.
Get physical with your marketing strategy.
Use more than literature to promote your business. A computer software trainer we know sends a bottle of aspirins to prospects to get them to sign up for his seminars, which are designed to “ease the pain” of learning a new software program. A travel agent we have used in the past uses sand to sell holidays. What can you use to be different? Think about the benefits of your products and services.
Now think of an object to associate with the benefits. Send that object to your customers and prospects!
Call your customers AFTER the sale.
Thank them, encourage them, and answer their questions. By doing so, you are there when they need you and you prove yourself different from other companies who just take their money and run!
No doubt there are other ways of making yourself different in the market place. Whatever they are, use them to effectively show why you should be top of their list when they are thinking of your products and services.
Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.