The Foundational Big Three to Acquiring and Keeping Customers

Trust, Credibility and Rapport. Print buyers don’t care if you use the best technology, have the best location, or hang out with movie stars. You won’t survive if your foundation is weak.

If a buyer catches you lying just once, they’ll question everything you say in the future. If your advice is out of date, they’ll ask your competitor. If you just don’t quite gel with them and talk their language, they’d rather not spend time with you. Establish trust, credibility and rapport to create a network of great customers.

Over the past two weeks while attending the MFSA (Mail & Fulfillment Services Association) and IPMA (In–Plant Printing & Mailing Association) Annual Conferences, I noticed sessions were focused more on customer relations and less on technology.

Keynote speaker, John Foley, President of InterlinkOne, presented at the MFSA Conference in Charleston, SC and stressed the importance of social networking to share knowledge, help others and stay connected. John is successful because he lives by the three foundational principles of trust, credibility and rapport.

Next stop was IPMA’s annual conference in Albuquerque, NM, where the keynote, Bill Farquaharson, President of Aspire, explained why customer loyalty in the printing industry isn’t dead, unless you do it to yourself. He stressed the importance of you showing customers how much YOU care. Show them the love!

Yes, you are only as good as your last order, but build up an “emotional bank account” or reserve with your customers. You make a deposit in this emotional bank account every time you go the extra mile, give great advice, and connect with a customer in special ways, or whenever they feel unique and special. You withdraw from the account every time you stretch the truth, miss commitments, give poor advice, have awkward communications, or ask them to jump through hoops.

Michael Casey is the founder of Survey Advantage and strategic partner with several printer associations and franchises. By leveraging information from a printer’s estimation and production software, Mike’s business has helped hundreds of printers automate their customer feedback and lead generation process. He may be reached via e-mail or (401) 560-0311 ext. 103. Read printer case studies on the Survey Advantage Website.
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  • http://DickRossman Dick Rossman

    Great article Michael. People do business with people they like and want to work with, and you’ve described well how to accomplish that.

  • http://CraigLanders Craig Landers

    This was an impressive, thought provoking and very concise article.

    Sent it immediately to our sales force and plan to conference call quickly to talk it out… implementation is the goal!