Your Customer Base - Full of Half-Squeezed Lemons?
If you’ve ever tried to pick fruit from a lemon tree, you know how prickly, even slightly dangerous that can be! When a lemon tree is ripe for the picking, anyone who has ever tried to deprive it of its fruit soon discovered it has thorns, and can be as self-protective and obstinate as some of the prospective customers you’ve met with, trying to get THEIR business, in order to grow yours.
But, for those of you whose job it is to "pick the fruit" for your business — cold calling prospects can sometimes be very discouraging. However, in order to claim the fruit, someone is going to have to climb that tree!
Prospects are NOT fruit-in-the-hand, ready to be turned into "lemonade!" Even trying to squeeze juice from newly-picked fruit can take a lot of work, just like on-boarding new customers.
Now, think of your customer base (your list of past and current customers) as fruit or "lemons" already in your hand and ready for squeezing.
As business professionals, we know it’s more cost effective to glean more business from your existing customer base, than continually marketing or climbing fruit trees to find new customers. The cost of sales can be pretty daunting for some small businesses. In our new world of technology, when people generally don’t want to be contacted in person or by phone, developing relationships with new customers is much more of a challenge than it was, even a few years back.
It’s easy to give up on past contacts, thinking there’s no more lemonade to be made there. But, before you throw out what you thought were well-squeezed lemons into the trash bin of forgotten data, I suggest you start squeezing and keep squeezing!
Engage your staff to help with improving and creating systems (tools) that ensure you are getting every last drop of business you can produce, cost effectively.
If you’re like me, and you don’t like WASTE, you want to make more lemonade with less lemons! So, what are some systems for making more "lemonade?" Here’s what I highly recommend ...
Automatic email responders on new orders, and good CRM software, along with Service Control Checklists that prompt your Sales and Marketing team to email, call or visit your ENTIRE customer database on a consistent time schedule.
I could go on and on here, but I think you get the picture ... without a good system for harvesting, you will not get all of the juice from the fruit, which could mean success or failure for your business.
Start squeezing today!
Did I mention? Great systems work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.