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ROI by Frank J. Rich

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Frank J. Rich

You might be considering an ad campaign right now, or trying to work out the best landing copy for your website, brochure or sales letter. You’ve read all the conflicting advice out there on marketing, copywriting, advertising and sales; you’ve considered your ROI on a B2B DM that maximizes conversion through your dynamic CTA, and you only need now to work out a message that captures your core demographic for optimum market penetration.
Let me make it all very simple for you.
There are three basic types of paying customers. The first is the one who will buy once and never come back, for whatever reason; the second is the customer who comes back, but never recommends you to others. The third is the advocate—the customer who will just keep delivering work to your door, through both repeat and referral business.
That’s it. Just three. No matter your business, your product, or your service: just three.
The first is a testament to your sales skill. You got them in the door, by hook or by crook; you captured their attention and led them to an impulse buy. Most businesses spend vast sums to draw in crowds of impulse shoppers, mainly because it’s much easier to mathematically test ad copy when you can use immediate response numbers as an ROI gauge.
The common wisdom is that the second and third types are basically just happy versions of the first; the truth, however, is that there is a difference between the dissatisfied customer and the impulse shopper. Many dissatisfied customers are actually of the second type. Even though they only bought from you once, had you done what it took to win their trust, they would have come back. The ones who buy on impulse do so because that is their preferred buying strategy: you never really had a chance with them beyond the first sale, except by luck.
The second customer isn’t shopping for a product or service, but a relationship. They would love to trust you with their needs, to develop a long-term professional arrangement with you, but they must first be convinced. These folks don’t want you to sell to them, for the same reason that marriage-minded singles don’t consider a bar pickup to be progress. They want reliability, and they’re tired of being disappointed; they’re looking for stability.
The third is a type unique from the second, but they won’t reveal themselves as such until trust has been established. This is the customer who wants great service, wants a long-term relationship, but who also wants to share it with their other long-term relationships. Your repeat customers want security and trust for themselves; your referral customers want to extend those benefits to their entire social circle. These are the folks willing and eager to put their reputations on the line to extol your virtues. They are also the most likely to have originally heard of you through a referral themselves. They’re not sold or convinced, but attracted.
The difference between Type One and Type Two is trust and reliance. The difference between Two and Three is value and integrity. Customer One buys a pitch, Customer Two establishes a confidence, and Customer Three embraces a cause.
That cause can be you, if you’re up to it.
You can’t convert one customer type to another. You can only structure your services and marketing to attract particular buying patterns, and even the best package won’t compensate for an uninspired delivery. But as you contemplate the message that represents your business, consider your goals. Do you just want to make the sale? Or do you want repeat business that you can rely on? Or do you want a sales force of paying clients ready to sing your praises to other like-minded souls?
“Sell, convince or attract: your clients [customers] await.”
Editor’s Note: You can reach Robert Warren (author of this article) at writer@rswarren.com. Tell him I sent you, and that I’ve taken up his cause.

February 25, 2015 |

Is We Is, or Is We Ain’t?

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

The above 1940s turn of phrase could mean a number of things by the way it was said, but it always meant to ask the obvious question: declare yourself as we see you, or not. In looking over the holiday numbers, largely in an effort to gauge the opportunity for local businesses, I’m led to a bicameral view of the marketplace during this excited annual buying season. Specifically, is s/he buying or not, and why?

The indicators all point to the health of one key metric—DPI, or disposable income. Lower unemployment rate (5.8% v. 6.9% in ‘13), revolving credit growth (>3.2% v. 2.3% in ’13), DPI growth (3.2% v. 2.3 in ’13), significantly lower fuel costs (>15% in ’14 and falling), and increased consumer confidence. All good. (BOA, Merrill Lynch) (more…)

December 15, 2014 |

Holiday Shopping—How?

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH
 

In a word, a good start, though clearly shoppers are tiring of “black this” and “cyber that.” Witness the time extensions on sales into last week, following a roughly 4 percent drop in sales on “day” days.

The shopping season is off to a good start, with expectations of a 4.1 percent increase in consumer spending over 2013 (National Retail Federation). Retail is coming alive, and at the local level, where it has lagged the past 7 years.

The Flagler County (Fla.) Chamber of Commerce says: “[Buy Local] is huge. For every dollar we spend here locally, it’s our neighbors staying employed and shops staying open. It definitely has an exponential effect to it, so when you look at a small cost savings by ordering online or going elsewhere to shop, the effect [buying local] has on our community is greater than that savings.“ (more…)

December 15, 2014 |

The single greatest mistake a manager can make…

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ROI by Frank J. Rich

ROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

In his book, Swim with the Sharks, Harvey Mackay delivers what he calls “A Short Course in Management.” It’s short. In fact, only four pages long. And he probably could have reduced it to a sentence or two. Let me try.

In describing the “single greatest mistake a manager can make,” Mackay suggests that managers must provide an environment that includes: motivation, goals, resources, and leadership. But not “restrictions”! We could focus on the now “famous four,” but to demur on the last point may be instructive.

People, especially Americans, don’t like being told what to do. They don’t like rules. Oh, they’ll abide by them, but the opportunity in the resource is best encouraged by the freedom to express themselves uniquely. After all, it’s the way the creator made us, isn’t it? (more…)

December 15, 2014 |

WUCUB

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ROI by Frank J. RichROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

We are never so near to something as when it affects our consciousness. The term “consciousness” opens volumes in science and philosophy, but may singularly account for the uniqueness in the human condition more than anything else. To the point, we feel most things if given over to the mechanism, and even when we are not the objective machine we like to make out. The senses, it turns out, account for the thing inside that relates to all other things outside. Our relationship to the world and its “things” may, indeed, require a physical presence. Hold the thought for a moment while we consider the marketplace, the focus of ROI columns.

In the past I’ve made much of the idea that “relationship” is fundamental to the human condition. And that it is formed of emotional workings, not at all the objective whir of an automaton. We may form them through the telephone, Internet, email, text messaging, TV, radio, and not least, print.

(more…)

November 21, 2014 |

Don’t Sell, Relate

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ROI by Frank J. RichROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

Lead with action-oriented offers and promotions, and “always be closing.” The holiday season is about clearing the shelves and generating as much revenue as possible while consumers are in a buying mood. Sound like the right stuff? Well, maybe.

Despite the fact that many retail stores derive 80% or more of their annual take during this season, the extraordinary growth of inbound marketing (forms of content marketing that bring customers closer to the brand) and the presumed skill set necessary to capture the customer, the hard-driving force of “the close” is not the philter it used to be.

 

(more…)

November 19, 2014 |

The Conversation

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ROI by Frank J. RichROI
BY FRANK J. RICH

It used to be that when we saw people talking to themselves it was a matter of concern. The distractions of those under pressure, in crisis, or under attack are common knowledge to any in the age of television. Moviegoers and readers of today’s horror entertainment are regularly treated to personalities exhibiting “unusual” or “pathological” behavior, the kind of stuff that attracts certain people, typically those with more free-floating dopamine, the chemical agent that largely drives risk-taking.

Adjunctively, the brain’s way of recalibrating risks based on past experience, then recommending that we proceed is a learned mechanism that may explain how we can tolerate the murder, mayhem, and fear-invoking scenes on television and movies. Add the “Hollywood Effect” that transports us to those characters—at times an excuse for strange behavior—to join them under the skin in the behaviors more appropriate to a Stephen King novel than to everyday life.

(more…)

November 7, 2014 |
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