"The purpose of business is to create a customer." --- Peter Drucker
I remember when I first read that quote. It was 1990 and I had just finished an MBA in Marketing. I remember thinking, "Why did I just spend over $50,000 and I've never heard that before?"
Isn't it just about the most obvious statement? From that day forward it has guided me in the most simple way to building two businesses, selling one for a substantial profit and helping friends and family build their businesses.
Creating customers is your foundation to support an entire business and lifestyle and to do it requires smart, savvy marketing. Marketing that sometimes goes against traditional thinking. Against what an ad rep might tell you or what you might be taught at one of the top 3 business schools.
Here are some ideas that have served me well in creating thousands of customers over the last 12 years.
You've heard it before; everything starts with a plan. Each year I sit down in the months of November and December and plan out the coming year. How will I create customers is the question I am always asking.
A plan doesn't have to be an elaborate, multiple page document with perfect grammar. A plan just gives you a direction to follow. Included in the plan is a budget for my advertising expenditures for the coming year. Whether you are spending $100 or $100,000 per month, the budget you set is the rudder that keeps your plan from drifting out of control.
Any advertising should always be of the direct response variety. In other words, offer something in the ad to make the phone ring. e.g. - a free first session, a free report, or something of value to get the reader of the ad contact you. Any other type of advertising is a waste of time and financial resources.
Always get the address and phone number of every single person who responds and start building a database of prospects. Eventually you'll be able to work from that database and stay in contact with prospects that were initially interested but never followed through for one reason or another. Once you get some response you will be able to figure a workable cost per lead and cost per customer.
After you have those numbers you can work them into your overall pricing and raise your budget accordingly. This method will lead you to being able to increase your budget annually and grow your business. So, these are my basic first steps to creating customers every year. Simple steps that I guarantee will put you on the right path to a successful business. It all boils down to constantly asking yourself, "How can I create a customer today?"
In Part 2, we'll look at specific methods of attracting interested prospects which is the first step in the customer creation process.
Last week we discussed some ideas for getting started on the road to constant customer creation.
Remember, "The purpose of a business is to create a customer."
Well, that's all fine and dandy but, "*how* do you do it?" It's easy to throw around quotes but the actions you take are what create the customers.
Here are some *actions* you can take today to crank up your customer creation machine (your business).
Gather copies of all your brochures, ads, letters, business cards and every other piece of information that is seen by potential prospects. Pile them all on your desk and begin looking at them one by one.
Run them through a "So what? filter." In other words, when the prospect looks at the information does it answer the question they are always asking, "so what's in it for me?"
Do you have a headline on *everything* that grabs the attention of your prospect and invites them to see what is in it for them?
Does the copy speak to what the *benefits* are instead of the "18 years of quality service?=E2" What is that anyway? If someone can tell me I would like to know because I don't care about the last 18 years. I care about the service I am getting now! :-)
Is there a call-to-action that *specifically* tells the prospect what to do and offers something for doing it? "Call today for a copy of my *Free* Report titled, 'How to *Double Your Income* by eliminating clutter in your garage!' is better than 'American Garage Sale Consultants.'"
If everything doesn't pass through the "So what? Filter" it is time to start rewriting with customer creation in mind.
Compile a list of all of your customers for the past year.
Look at the money they have each put in your pocket and rank the list highest to lowest.
Now take the top 20% of the names and phone every one of them.
Here is the script to use. I know, I know, you hate scripts. The problem is, you use them whether you think you do or not so you might as well write one out and make it work. The key is to practice it enough that, like a Broadway star, it becomes internalized and doesn't sound like a script. :-)
"Hello Bob, this is Sean calling from Hensley Manufacturing. I was just doing an audit of my records and realized I haven't called to thank you for being one of my absolute best customers. So, thank you!"
"Would you mind answering a couple questions for me? *Why* do you do business with me? What could I do better for you?"
I *guarantee* you will get the most valuable customer creation information you could ever come by. Your customer will give you the actual reasons they are putting money in your pocket.
Integrate your notes from Action #2 into Action #1.
Do you touch on all the points your best customers have told you put money in your pocket? If not, imagine the impact your information would have if you did.
With these three actions, you will likely double or even triple the amount of business you are doing. Please don't take them lightly because they are in a *free* e-zine. Print them out and *do them* and you will be on your way to building a Constant Customer Creation Machine that will provide the life you deserve for years to come.
And, as always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to e- mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sean Woodruff is a very successful entrepreneur who *loves* marketing, and enjoys teaching it to others just as much. If you have any questions or comments for Sean, or would like to subscribe to his ezine on this topic, feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
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