This is an interview with marketing specialist Stephanie Cohen -- providing some lessons in creating lasting RELATIONSHIPS with your customers.
Q: TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOUR SERVICES.
A: We specialize in one-on-one RELATIONSHIP marketing. By designing an organized contact management system to keep in consistent touch with clients and prospects three business factors should increase dramatically over the course of a year:
Q: WHO IS YOUR TYPICAL BUSINESS CLIENT?
A: Our service best matches the needs of individual business owners (1-10 person companies) and individual sales executives. I most often work with people who have a PASSION for what they do but:
Q: WHAT IS YOUR MARKETING PHILOSOPHY?
A: My overall marketing philosophy is that small companies should use some of the same marketing methods that the BIG boys use. For example, consumer package goods companies like Coca-Cola often spend millions of dollars every few years to conduct studies. What they do is ask their consumer panel to write down every single time they drink any Coke brand drink for two weeks and exactly how they felt when they had that beverage. Once these millions of pieces of data are compiled, Coke will form target-marketing groups, known as SEGMENTS. The ads we would see on television as a result of this woman’s feelings about Coke would show her happily at home at the dinner table enjoying diet Coke with her family.
Q: HOW CAN SMALL BUSINESSES DO THIS?
A: Using the above as an example, it doesn’t make sense to put all your marketing efforts into sending one newsletter to your entire database each quarter. Everyone in your database does not look the same. If you have 200 clients and prospects in your database, the best way to reach them would be to divide them into meaningful TARGET segments. For example, if you provide corporate furnished apartments, some of your logical segments would be Real Estate Agents, Insurance Agents, Relocation Executives, and Human Resource Executives. The corporate housing specialist should speak to each of these industry partner groups with custom messages.
Q: HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT YOUR SEGMENTS?
A: If you want to segment your database, picture all of the people you do business with each day and your best referral sources. If one person representing each group were standing in front of you, what exactly would they need to hear to pick up the phone and call you? What do they need to KNOW about you to trust you enough to REFER business to you? If you send them this information on a consistent basis, you will connect with your clients & prospects in a very meaningful way.
Q: HOW DO YOU AVOID A HARD SELL?
A: By segmenting your database and sending each person in that database customized messages, when you contact them anytime afterwards, they will naturally be more RECEPTIVE to the information you hope will get their attention. Since The Client Connection constructs a detailed marketing plan to each database segment for the entire year, as time progresses, you will actually EARN the right to ask your clients and prospects for referrals (clients just like them).
Q: WHAT IF YOU HAVE LIMITED MARKETING DOLLARS?
A: The true advantage of segmenting your database is the freedom to spend DIFFERENT amounts of time and money on each segment. For example, Segment 1 needs hand written notes every week but Segment 2 only needs a quarterly phone call. This creates several marketing EFFICIENCIES.
Q: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MARKETING MISTAKE YOU SEE?
A: As discussed above, treating the individuals listed in the company database as if they were one person and sending MASS marketing messages is only one step above doing nothing at all, but far from earning the respect of prospects. In general, there really is no such thing as “selling” or the art of persuasion. There should simply be a discovery if there is a mutual BASIS for doing business between two parties. Once prospects are qualified, communicating with them in a personal and consistent basis will convert them not only to become clients, but loyal clients that can be retained and counted on for more business (increased referrals and frequent purchases).
Q: HOW DO YOU STAY IN FRONT OF A CLIENT?
A: Keeping in touch with clients and prospects in a PERSONAL manner will bring more business naturally. There are many creative ways to contact your clients and prospects without inadvertently asking them to purchase your product or service. This can best be accomplished by keeping track of the personal INTERESTS of your clients and prospects. Sending birthday cards, anniversary presents and remembering the names of the kids just doesn’t cut it anymore. Some examples:
Stephanie Cohen is the founder of The Client Connection -- providing Database Management and Segmentation, Individual Annual Marketing Plans for each Database Segment, Creation of Reusable Messages, Prospect Referral Source Tracking, Tools for ‘Keeping in Touch’, and Marketing Plan Implementation. You may visit her website at www.TheClientConnection.com. You may contact her at .
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