Lessons from H&R Block About Selling Digital/VDP

Brilliant. Annoying as hell, but brilliant. That’s how I’d describe how H&R Block is growing its online business. I’m not sure whom I should credit, H or R, but neither are blockheads for coming up with what is a fabulous lesson for anyone who seeks to introduce the archaic concept of customer loyalty into a digitally based product or service.

Digital/VDP print providers…Are you listening?

I listen to Internet radio and have yet to upgrade my Pandora account to be commercial-free. As such, I suffer through repetitive advertising after roughly every third song or so. Here’s what I know so far: Lowe’s is keen on telling me about its crabgrass-killer sale; Ford’s F-150 has been New England’s number one pick up truck for 34 years in a row; and

H&R Block really knows how to sell digital and variable data printing.

Last year I did my daughter’s taxes. Given that the “D” I received in accounting from the University of Massachusetts still haunts me, I turned to Henry and Richard Bloch’s creation for assistance. It was so easy, even a caveman like me was able to find Kati a $551 refund with a few fairly easy keystrokes.

This year, an e-mail reminder brought me to a pre-populated Website and made what was already a simple experience even simpler, which is nice if you are a tax simpleton like me. Inserting three numbers and hitting “Go!” was all that it took. Now that’s how you create a following and a customer for life!

What H&R Block has figured out is that growing customer loyalty is about capturing data and exuding technical superiority. It has realized that the “customer-for-life” concept is made possible by taking advantage of an age-old truth—people are lazy! Once they go through the initial work, they won’t want to do it again and will even pay more to avoid starting all over again. Own the digital data and you will own the customer. Interesting concept, don’t you think?

As a 30 year sales veteran, Bill has the perspective of a been-there, done-that sales rep in the commercial print arena. Following sales fundamentals and giving unapologetically "old school" advice, he writes and speaks in an entertaining fashion to make his points to sales people and owners who sell. "Bill Farquharson will drive your sales momentum."
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