A business owner enjoys great success or suffers varying levels of frustration and failure to the degree he is able to generate a consistent supply of good quality customers coming in the door. This is why it is important that every action taken, before, during and after the customer’s actual buying experience, is deliberately designed to attract (and keep) the exact type of customer you most desire.
Basic knowledge of this truth is what constantly gives birth to the cliché that “the customer is always right,” despite the fact that everyone knows this commonly publicized “business value” simply isn’t true. Customers know that you don’t really mean it; some of them take it too far; people, friends, family and staff constantly poke fun at it behind closed doors. And yet the idea persists. Why?
Because it was never meant to be taken literally.
It’s not out of some great sense of “moral duty” on the part of the business owner, or some great coincidence that nearly every successful business shares this same basic business philosophy. It’s Business 101, born out of necessity. The customer pays all the bills.
Most people in business understand this, at least up until the point before they attract a customer. No real mystery there. No customer, no cash flow, no business. Period. So that’s where most people spend the majority of their time. Focused on solely on customer acquisition, many times to the exclusion of all else that can be done with a customer both during and after the point of sale.
But once a business matures to a certain point, where a steady stream of customers is established, and a certain volume of business is expected to come in depending on the time of year or the time of day, then often the biggest opportunity to grow the profits of the business with the least amount of effort and the least amount of expense no longer lies in customer acquisition (or “before the sale”). It mostly lies in the “during” and the “after.”
In other words, once a favorable transaction between both parties occurs, these two opportunities (the “during” and the “after”) open up wide, and become ripe for maximum “exploitation,” especially the more established and the more successful the business.
Just to be clear upfront, I’m 100% against “exploitation” of any kind in the negative sense of the word. Long before it developed a negative connotation in the late 1830’s to 1850’s, the word “exploitation” originally meant the “productive working of something in a positive way” when it was first used in 1803. So, according to the original meaning, once a customer relationship is established, it is the duty of the business owner to “exploit the relationship” or “make it work more productively” (in a good way) for the sake of the business. Not lie, cheat or steal (unless you wish to go out of business, obviously) but simply keep satisfying the ongoing needs of the customer at a price he or she is happy and willing to pay.
When looked at this way, it becomes completely obvious and almost goes without saying. But it takes on a special significance when you combine this logic with another basic fact; another fact that holds true for every business on the planet: It’s always easier to get more money from someone who’s already given you money, than it is to get new money from someone who’s never given you any. This is a universal business principle. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lowly butcher, baker or candlestick maker. It’s true for every business on earth, including yours. No exceptions.
Now, you’ve likely heard estimates that it costs seven to ten times as much to get a new customer in the door than to keep the one you already got coming back for more. And yet, in light of this fact, so many business owners continue to chase after “new blood” constantly, while neglecting to properly appreciate the customers they’ve already got. How? Simply by offering them more and more things just for them!
Nevertheless, the following strategy will always remain one of the easiest ways any established business can consistently, predictably, and reliably increase their sales and profits starting immediately…
“Exalt” the existing customer base up onto a pedestal. Treat them better than anyone else. Make them feel important and special. Lavish them with praise for purchasing from you. Advertise and market to them on the “back end” continually, in new and unique ways that they appreciate. Sell them additional products and services by making attractive, insider-only offers. Partner with others who are top-notch and sell their wares for a fee. Throw customer appreciation events. Ask, reward, and give your existing customers incentives them to buy from you and others again, and again, and again. Just do this one thing properly and your profits will soar.
Offer existing customers additional things that you or others sell. Make it worth their while. Do it with a passion. And mark my words, when you see the results, at some point you will look back on your business life and you will kick yourself for not doing it sooner. Because eventually it will become crystal clear to you the huge sums of money that were simply left sitting on the table. And not just the sheer magnitude of additional money either, but the actual ease you would have had getting it too. Money that’s literally been “hidden in plain sight”; constantly ripening; ready for your taking.
Figure out what else to offer your customers (that they might like to buy) and figure out how to offer it in a way that produces good results for you at a hefty profit. In many cases, if nothing went wrong when you did business together, and you haven’t abused the list, you may be delighted to discover that even a “bad offer” will often produce satisfactory results. Why? Because a good list made up of proven buyers, presented even with a mediocre offer along similar lines, almost always produces something.
The best part is, if you’re doing business smart, you will always capture customer contact information. Therefore, you will always have a good list. And with some testing and practice, if you treat them well and you’re fun in your approach, you can really start to shake things up. And before you know it, you’ll discover you have a brand new asset, one you can’t easily put a price tag on: The ability to generate money at will whenever you want it or need it, literally on demand.