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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Making Your Customers Feel Special Pays Off

Last week, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) marketing whiz Marka gave savvy salesperson Zoot some tips on assessing his sales team as the year draws to a close. This week, Marka tells Zoot how to show customers they’re appreciated. Remember, fire = print.

Marka arrived in Zoot’s office and found him waist deep in paperwork—literally. “This all fell off my desk,” Zoot said sheepishly.

“Boy, you look busy. Most of all, you look like you need a new filing system,” Marka observed.

“You said it. I can barely keep my head above water,” Zoot agreed. “I’m concerned that in my rush to get everything done, I’m neglecting the little things that make customers feel special.”

“That’s a problem,” Marka said. “Let me make it easy for you. Here are some tips to make customers feel appreciated.” [She then began writing on the whiteboard that stood in the corner of Zoot’s office.]

• Follow up key projects with a phone call.

“More and more communication is taking place over O-mail, O-texts and the like,” Marka noted. “When we do talk to customers on the O-phone, most of the time it’s just to exchange specific project details and similar information. Imagine our customers’ pleasant surprise when they receive a call from you asking simply, ‘How did we do?’”

“Make this type of follow-up call a regular part of your routine for new and existing customers,” Marka continued. “It serves as a gesture of thanks, and an opportunity to get honest, useful feedback when the job experience is still fresh in a customer’s mind.” [She then wrote more on the whiteboard.]

• Send handwritten “Thank You!” notes.

“Keep a stack of thank-you cards at the ready,” Marka suggested. “Any time you or FEI receives a referral, a big project, kudos from a customer or anything notable, grab a card and jot down a quick note—handwritten and signed, of course. Spending a few minutes to create this personal touch will do wonders for FEI’s image in our customers’ eyes.” [Marka then scribbled some more on the whiteboard.]

• Host a customer-appreciation workshop.

“We can also show our appreciation in person by inviting customers and prospects to our facility,” Marka continued. “To ensure a healthy response, let’s be sure to send invitations at least six weeks in advance of the event and revolve it around breakfast, lunch or evening snacks.”

“And we won’t let attendees off easy—while we’re thanking them, let’s teach them!” she added. “Let’s plan an educational workshop that offers valuable tips and tricks from every corner of FEI’s operations. FEI’s name will be indelibly linked in the minds of customers and prospects with expert-level knowledge and trustworthy service.”

“Marka, these tips are a lifesaver,” Zoot said. “Now, I just need one more thing.”

“What’s that?” Marka asked.

“A shovel!” Zoot replied, gesturing to the paperwork all around him.

Today’s FIRE! Point
Taking the time to show customers they’re appreciated pays off. Making follow-up phone calls, sending handwritten “Thank You!” notes and holding customer-appreciation workshops are options to consider. All will make customers more likely to think of you the next time they have a big print job that fits your capabilities.

FIRE! In Action: Fortune 10 Company Uses Customer-Appreciation Events to Grow Sales
A well-known financial services company held a customer-appreciation event that earned it $48,000 in commission. The firm has since continued to frequently hold such events with success.

Next week: Marka shows Zoot how sending letters in response to common business events can boost FEI’s top-of-mind positioning.

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