Welcome to all our readers of The Corporate Muse. This month's
fare includes: client loyalty, things to take to networking events and using the right words. We hope you
enjoy it. As always, we'd love to hear from you. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping Your Customers Loyal
How would you like to have customers for life? Dumb question, I admit. It's the dream of every
right-minded business owner out there. Loyalty is a commodity we all crave -- in our commercial and our personal
Creating that kind of devotion has a great deal to do with performing outstanding customer service,
but it also has a lot to do with timing. It's a fact that a person who recently bought from you is apt to make a second purchase
shortly thereafter. And if they buy from you twice, they're even more likely to continue doing so, especially if your business is
Why? There doesn't seem to be a clear consensus as to the
reasons, but there may be a clue in the findings of Wharton marketing
professor David J. Reibstein. He spent some time looking into
the trends of buyers on the Web during a 12-month period ending in March of '99.
"On a 10-point scale the highest rated item was product representation, surpassing even product pricing. Says
Reibstein: 'The biggest concern is that what is represented on the web is consistent with what is actually received.' Wide
product selection was the No. 3 on the list.
"It is important to note that not all age and income groups ranked these factors the same. While the
older age and higher income groups downplayed price, it was the most important factor for groups including teens and young
adults. Gift buyers, on the other hand, cared most about being assured that they knew what they were ordering and that it would
be delivered on time. Reibstein says this shows it is very important for merchants to know their target market and focus on
satisfy its demands."
So to quote
Reibstein, it appears the most important aspect of eliciting repeat buyers is merchant availability after the sale of the
At Big Seminar 6, Joe Polish (www.joepolish.com)
said much the same thing in describing what he
calls the "Stick Strategies." His main points:
#1 question on every
customer's mind -- who can I trust
7-Letter word secret to Stick
Strategies -- Bonding
2nd time buyers are worth 3 times
as much as first timers
suggests including free information along with the product. Something like a sticker on the outside of the package with an
800# to hear a special message from the manufacturer or producer of the product. Educational booklets work nicely too. You
want to let your customer know the door's still open -- you're still there for them, even though the purchase is
complete. If they trust you to be there, they'll buy again and refer their friends.
It's true in the service industries, as well. While the psychology of customer loyalty is not
completely understood, evidence points to satisfaction as the key. A five-year study, conducted on households in deregulated
energy markets, maintained, "Based on various evidence, it appears that satisfaction has a conditional impact on customer
Again cost is not the deciding factor. "Concerning the issue of prices, it appears that
customers' response to price discounts is not greatly determined by their income level or other demographics. Furthermore, the
amount of the saving matters more than the percentage, and unless the savings are clearly greater than the cost (effort and
risk of changing) then customers will most likely stay where they are. They seem to care little about whether their company is
the cheapest and more about whether it is sufficiently competitive as a whole."
The research established that what customers want most is: "a good value, safe, reliable,
environmental energy supply; clear, accurate and reliable bills; flexible service and no service problems. Additional
offerings only work if they are competitive in their own right." (From an article by Philip Lewis, PhD at: http://www.metering.com/archive/021/42_1.htm.)
Whether your business operates online or off, whether you produce products or are chiefly a service organization,
the way to create customers for life is to continue the relationship after they've bought from you. You don't need to be
the cheapest. You don't even need to be the best. You just need to be there. Let your customers know the bond you
established when you wooed them to buy isn't over. When they trust your loyalty to them, they'll remain loyal to you.
© QuickSilver Copywriters 2006 -- Andy & Shawn Catsimanes; http://www.quicksilvercopywriters.com/; mailto: email@example.com; Sign up for The Corporate Muse:
Haves" For Every Networking Event
are just reminders really. You probably had them ready to "pack" or take with you anyway. But it's easy to get distracted,
expecially if you're nervous about attending the particular event or joining a forum for the first time. (Or if you're like me
and it's a morning affair and you're not quite awake yet!)
business cards. This probably seems a silly reminder. After all, you attend networking gigs to meet
other people and the business card transaction is a natural extension of it. But as you're walking out the door, it's
a good idea to check and make sure you have an ample supply. Always attempt to hand someone two (so he can give one
away). If he refuses, don't argue or act hurt, just eagerly accept his. Organization, especially away from home,
can be difficult. What works best for me is tucking them inside my daytimer and arranging them as soon as I return to
my room or home. Online forums present another problem. You can't give away cards if you're not face-to-face. So you
want to develop a signature that acts as a business card.
handshake. The firm handshake radiates confidence (even if you don't feel you have it). Hitting on
just the right hold may take practice. Find a friend who's willing to tell you the truth and ask him to help you.
Maybe she'll tell you to loosen your grip -- you don't want to bruise your new friends! Of course you won't
be shaking any hands online, but you can choose courtesy in other ways. When joining a forum, check out the
guidelines before posting -- and always, always, always follow them.
outfit. If you're online that could mean sweats, pajamas or (heaven forbid) underwear. But those won't
work for live events. It's said you should dress the way you hope to be perceived. If you want to appear
professional, sophisticated and self-assured, you should dress accordingly. Go ahead and buy that new suit or dress
you've been eyeing. It's not a deficit. It's an investment in your future.
personality. I'm not kidding on this one. How often do you find yourself trying to fit into a
particular mold or be someone you're not. Or worse yet, attempt to be who someone else wants you to be. I've done it.
But you'll be light years ahead of the game if you let the real you shine. You're amazing (even if you don't think
you are). So go out there and show 'em, baby! (It's the same for online.)
ears. Practice active listening. Don't think about what you're going to say next. Don't daydream.
Focus on the other person. The more you can make the conversation about him/her, the better the experience will be.
Besides, you can't recognize signs that the other person might be a good fit if you're too busy talking. Forum
gatherers have a distinct advantage. They can read, reread and dissect before replying to any message. It gives them
time to really hear what the contributor is trying to say.
And last but not
least -- Your smile! No matter who you are. No matter if you have crooked teeth or even a crooked
smile. Your smile is your best feature. Smiling puts others at ease. It gives them the sense you're friendly and
approachable. Maybe you're thinking, well, of course I'll smile. Personally, I have to think about it. If I'm
concnetrating on something, even if it's just listening to someone talk, I tend to get a look on my face that people
often misinterpret as angry. I have to make an effort to smile continually. And so should you. You can smile
when meeting online too. I'm not talking about emoticons. Just like you can detect when someone's smiling on the
other end of the phone line, you can tell by the words and tone a person uses what sort of mood he's in. So smile
wherever you are -- and you're sure to find others respond in kind.
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never
hurt me. Hah! That's just something parents made up to thwart the effects of the harsh derision of other children. We all know
Words not only have the power to harm, they also have the
ability to change minds, forge alliances and charm the stodgiest curmudgeon.
Choosing the right words is imperative when composing your
websites, brochures or other advertising materials. What you say and how you say it can mean the difference between making a
sale and losing it.
It's said you have seven seconds to catch your readers'
attention. That means those beginning few words of the first paragraph are the most important of all.
If your piece contains a headline, it needs to be
remarkable. Copywriters and marketers agree you should spend about 80% of your writing time on the headline alone.
Should you decide to step right into the meat of your work,
it's essential that the lead paragraph (in exchange for the headline) maintains the same level of clout. It must urge your
potential client to read further. If it doesn't, what's the point?
Thinking about what you want to say and saying it well takes
time. It's hard work. Every word has to have a purpose and that purpose is to guide your customer down the path to the bottom
Therefore research is a crucial part of getting the words
right. The better you know your market, the easier it is to write directly to them. When you know what they want and that you
can solve their problems, you're more prone to hit what John Carlton (www.john-carlton.com) calls the "emotional sweet spot." And the closer you
come to it, the likelier you are to make a sale.
When you understand the power of the appropriate words -- the words that speak straight to the heart of your client -- the
more you'll want to use them. And you'll recognize that no matter the effort it takes to obtain them, in the end, it's worth
Thanks for reading.
See you next month!
Andy & Shawn Catsimanes
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