Greater Philadelphia Accountant On: The Making of Long-Term Customers

June 30, 2014

How are you and your Greater Philadelphia area small business feeling about 2014 so far?

Now that we’re just about halfway through, it’s a nice time to take stock.

So, really, I’d be interested: How are things going for you so far? Send me a quick email here at Team E G Neve so I can get a feel for it.

Running a small business can be lonely … and I, perhaps obviously, like to be able to offer encouragement along the way, for you, my Greater Philadelphia-area tax accounting clients.

This week’s Note is a simple method to keep your best customers doing more and more business with you throughout the year. As with the above, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.

Here we go…

Greater Philadelphia Accountant On: The Making of Long-Term Customers
“The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.” – Henry Ford

Customers for life are MADE — you don’t just “happen upon” them, in my opinion.

But the fact is, most Greater Philadelphia area small businesses pay too much in chasing new customers and too little in building repeat business with their existing customers.

Which is unfortunate because the satisfied customer will likely purchase again. And they will probably purchase more and purchase something different.

This matters because it definitely costs less to motivate a known customer to purchase again than to acquire a new customer.

In fact, it’s probably most often the case that your (and my) customers are only fickle because a new Greater Philadelphia based competitor is paying more attention to them than you are.

In business-to-business marketing it seems that many companies make the huge mistake of having all their contact with their customers go through the sales representative. This leaves the customers vulnerable to theft if the representative jumps to another employer. It also leaves too much opportunity for negligence on the sales rep’s part.

Regardless of the layers of distribution between you and your customer, it’s a good idea to establish some direct link as an owner or president. The owner of a restaurant can do that by coming around and chatting personally with the customers. The chief executive officer of a large company can do it with a newsletter and maybe a hotline telephone number.

Direct mail is perfect for cutting through these layers (in addition, and on top of email). Here are some of the ways that direct mail can be used to communicate with established customers.

* Introduce new products or services.
* Give advance notice of and explain price or fee increases.
* Offer special discounts or premiums.
* Provide useful information.
* Give recognition to top customers.
* Announce seasonal sales.

And more.

I’ve rarely seen a Greater Philadelphia business that could not increase and improve through increased direct marketing to current customers.

Do not make the mistake of assuming knowledge on the part of the customer.

Do not take shortcuts with existing customers and do not feel that you are boring them by telling the same story repetitively.

If you have quality, service, guarantee, price or other advantages, point them out each and every time you deliver a presentation.

Even as a humble, “non-guru” Greater Philadelphia accountant, I submit to you that American business desperately needs to place a new, higher value on the customer in this economy. Communicate with your customers and you’ll do more business.

I’m grateful for our partnership, and dedicated to your success,

Would you forward this article to a Greater Philadelphia business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for Greater Philadelphia families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

E G Neve

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