American pop singer Pink had a 5x-platinum album called M!ssundaztood. To give you an idea how much I hate this name for an album, consider this: despite the fact I’ve worked with 3 Prime Ministers and won awards in both real estate investing and entrepreneurship, one of my memorable life accomplishments was getting 100% on every single spelling test in Grade 6. I’m serious – I love spelling.
Suffice to say, I hate the name “M!ssundaztood“.
That said, Marketing itself is often misunderstood. It’s often thought of as an event. Wrong. It’s a process.
Most business owners have this thought: “Ok, I took out an ad in the Yellow Pages, started a Google Adwords account, and bought a booth at 3 tradeshows. Marketing is now done.”
How that pains me!
(and if this seems completely normal and acceptable to you, I highly suggest you keep reading…)
It doesn’t pain me because of my slight OCD (probably more likely OCPD – the fact I actually looked this up is telling) but because of how much I care for my fellow entrepreneur. You and I work our asses off and perform at superhuman levels. So to see so much opportunity pissed away by wrongly thinking of marketing as an “event”, is painful to witness.
The reality is that it’s a PROCESS.
Some people are ready to buy today, others aren’t and you need to stay in touch with them over time until they are ready.
Some DO buy, and they want the entry-level model today, then the deluxe next year… but you need to stay in touch with this person too and guide them towards deluxe ownership next year.
There’s a common saying: “Customers buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell.”
So if someone is perfectly qualified to buy – has the money, is motivated, is even easy to deal with – but the timing isn’t quite right at the exact moment they see your business (see your ad, visit your booth at the tradeshow, click on your Google ad and visit your website), are you simply going to say “too bad, so sad” and let them walk away forever?
NO! You say “no problem”, you get them into a follow-up sequence using something like Infusionsoft, and you nurture them over time until they ARE ready to buy.
Or how about the customer that HAS purchased. Do you simply say, “Well that was one hell of a one-night stand, on to the next exciting conquest!”
In business – as in dating – it’s almost always easier to make a repeat sale to a current customer than to try and track down a new one. In fact, I’ve often seen it quoted that it’s 6x more expensive to get a new customer than sell to a current customer.
Again – marketing is a process, not an event. It’s something that happens before, during, and after a sale. The parallels to “non-business” areas of life are spooky. The only way that this might diverge is that in business it’s infinitely easier to get referrals to friends, family, co-workers for additional sales….. but I digress.
So what does it mean to “have a relationship” with a customer?
Case Study: Realtor.
Usually you get a bottle of wine upon possession, then a courtesy call 7 days later to make sure you don’t want to give it back, then a stupid, lame-ass calendar at Christmas. Then the Realtor goes MIA until next Christmas when the all-new, thrilling “Wildlife Scenes of Canada” or “Landscapes of the Rockies” calendar is released for your never-ending delight and consumption….
What if this was your Realtor, though…? Check it out:
1. Gift in kitchen (on possession)
2. Courtesy Call – to make sure everything has gone well (phone call – 3 days after possession)
3. Surprise $100 gift card for catering – for your house-warming party (snail mail – 7 days after possession)
4. List of approved tradespeople – in case you’re wanting to get some fixes done (email – 10 days)
5. Tipsheet on Winterizing / Spring Cleaning as appropriate (email – 20 days)
6. Customer Satisfaction Survey (email – 45 days)
7. Christmas Card (snail mail – Holiday Season)
8. Information about referral program (email – 70 days)
9. Birthday Card (it’s your bday – snail mail)
10. Annual Forecast on Housing Prices (email – 120 days)
11. Invitation: educational seminar (email – 150 days)
12. Surprise Gift Certificate for Massage Therapy (snail mail – 185 days)
…and we can keep developing this all the way to 5 years or longer. That way you can get maximum referrals for 5 years straight, PLUS sell them their next house too and start this whole sequence all over again. Nice.
See how this is a process?
Get into a long-term relationship with every single prospect and customer and wine ‘n dine every single one until they are ready to buy, then keep it going until they buy again, and keep it going until they refer three friends and tell the world how good you are.
(Then keep it going and do it all over again – you sly dog.)
And be up-front about the fact that you want their business now and forever – and there ain’t nuthin’ M!ssundaztood about that!
Hope that Helps,