Archives for posts with tag: Customer

I owe you an apology. I feel it’s only right. I got lots of likes and offline ‘congrats’ messages as a result of people reading the first post with this headline, and probably not much further.

In the first line of the original post, I mentioned I was able to pay off a mortgage recently. Not the mortgage, simply the smallest, by far, of the mortgages the missus and I have.

The post wasn’t about inviting congratulations on this modest achievement, it was about how the mortgage company didn’t even acknowledge this milestone with me, when they could have celebrated it and used it as a marketing tactic to unlock some of my newly freed-up disposable income.

The fault lies in the eye-catching – and perhaps misleading – subject line. Better would be been ‘Not Celebrating the Mortgage Payoff’ or ‘The Missed Pay-off Marketing Opportunity.’

Sorry. I’m still saddled with debt, and the bank manager has a vice-like grip on the reins…

I was able to pay off a mortgage the other day. I expect it’s the kind of thing that happens all the time to thousands of homeowners. It had a few months to go before it was finished and it seemed to make sense to get a redemption figure and get rid of the very small outstanding amount a few months early.

Another reason was that my other mortgages are not due to be paid off for another 15 years or more, so I wanted to get this one out of the way.

So, in the time-honoured and fuddy duddy old way, I wrote in looking for a redemption figure, they wrote back a fortnight letter, and I sent off a cheque for the balance the next day. Fabulous.

That was a few weeks ago. I haven’t heard anything. No acknowledgement letter with a zero balance. More importantly, no congratulations letter.

This is a missed opportunity. Firstly, it’s a golden rule of marketing that you celebrate each milestone of the customer journey with the customer. Secondly, this doesn’t have to be the last milestone, it could be the chance to say ‘hey, well done, you’ve paid off your mortgage, you’re going to be a few quid better off a month, here are some savings suggestions.’

I realise much of this is automated these days, but you can still build rules into your process that trigger a congrats letter to each customer, celebrating the mortgage payoff. It’s very cheap, it’s common sense, it leaves your customer with a good feeling and it might prod them to buy another product from you. Easy.

This is not so much 3 separate Cs as one rule with 3 C’s in it.  Here is my golden rule of customer intimacy:

Customers Crave Consistency.

Consistency is a comfortable armchair after a long day. It’s a familiar tune, or a fly ball to centre field. Easy.

When you’re consistent, and deal with your customers in a consistent way, they know what to expect. They grow with you, they’re comfortable with you, and the relationship deepens and develops. Remember the ‘one more thing’ of Jobs-led Apple product launches? We know it’s coming, and it sucks us in.

When you’re unpredictable, haphazard and inconsistent, customers are confused, discombobulated, frustrated. It turns them off.

I try to keep my posts consistent, to a consistent standard. It’s not a case of ‘this is getting stale, let’s change it up.’ It’s more like ‘I’m going here, it feels like home.’

For more on my consistency soapbox, see here.

Whew! I’ve recently finished a blog series on what I see as the seven typical stages in the B2B buying process. Call them the magnificent seven if you will :-).

It’s important to understand how our customers buy expensive, drawn-out and complex things because if we don’t know how they want to buy from us, we don’t know how to sell to them – effectively. I say effectively because we can all do whatever it takes to sell, but you need to do it profitably, productively and sustainably, or you won’t grow.

In order for you to deliver on this understanding, you need to do one really important thing, which I shall emphasise with the ‘dah dah dah’ dramatic use of the hyphen. You – need – to – match – your – sales – stages – to – your – customers’ – buying – stages. Simple!

Which brings us to the first selling stage. This is aligned – for that is the meaning of ‘match’ – to the first buying stage, namely the ongoing operation and review of the customer’s business that reveals awareness of a problem or opportunity. The first selling stage is your Addressable Market.

As you do your research into potential industries and customers to sell to, consider these questions:

– what businesses are they in that you could help improve?

– do they normally buy your kinds of products and services?

– do they have the kinds of problems that you can prove you solve?

– which role usually does the buying for your product and service?

– are they of a similar size, growth stage, sector and region and that you are comfortable doing business with? Hint: if not, they probably don’t fit nicely into the same buying process…

– are they already working with companies that fulfil a similar business need to you?

– are there enough of them and is their combined spend enough for you to win an achievable market share that allows you to grow?

Once you can get a sense of your total target market, you can then decide which portion of that market would pay for your products and services. This is your addressable market.

Don’t be tempted to put additional companies into your addressable market if they don’t fit. They’re a distraction and too expensive to sell to and service, because of the lack of fit.

Do be tempted to keep adding in new companies that do fit your addressable market.