There is an old saying that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our clients. It may be old, but it is true.
For most businesses, the regular customer is the lifeline. The regular customer knows us, trusts us, and buys from us. They are the reasons our businesses thrive in good times and survive in difficult times.
Yet, most marketing focuses on getting new customers. An example. My dentist recently ran a promotion that every new patient got a free electric toothbrush – the very make and model my dentist had suggested I buy a couple of weeks earlier.
As I sat and looked at the toothbrush, I started to think about how much my family of four had spent over the years at the dental clinic. As I settled into the dental chair, my dentist asked how I was. I explained to him that I was sad that I had to change dentists. He was surprised and asked why. I told him I was moving to a new dentist who offered free electric toothbrushes to new patients.
He got the point – and a new electric toothbrush was waiting for me when I left.
It wasn’t about the toothbrush – I already had one. The issue was I felt disrespected as a patient. Somehow, I was worth less to the dentist than the new patient – who might just come once and never come back.
How do we “fix” this?
Identify your best customers – by name. If you don’t know the regulars by name and their buying preferences, you will fail. Failure is not a probability but a certainty. If those regular customers don’t feel valued, 80% of your business is walking across the street to try out the competitor.
Keep a running database on every one of the regulars. What colors do they prefer? Who is special in their lives. What are their hobbies? I have a series of 66 questions I want answers to about each of my best clients.
Listen. Take the time to actually listen. Those 66 questions about my clients. The clients don’t fill in a survey. Each time I learn something new, I add it to their file. Birthdays, vacations, wants, and needs. Clients will tell you – you just have to listen.
Sounds like a lot of work? Imagine how long it will take and how much money you will have to spend to find new customers and turn them into regulars to ignore them like the last ones. Your success is right there in front of you – don’t waste it.