System 2 – Client Acquisition
The second system we’ll look at is your Client Acquisition System.
Think of this as your factory. You take the raw materials – leads – and process them through your business, in order to produce clients.
Note that we are, in a very real sense, still not focussed on making sales. This is not the Sales Acquisition System. It is your Client Acquisition System.
Rather than put all your effort and energy into getting the most possible out of the very first transaction, like squeezing all the juice from the orange on day one, focus on acquiring long-term clients and customers, not one-off sales.
Your Client Acquisition System is an opportunity to educate, to entertain, to help and above all to learn. Learn what your customers and clients are really looking for.
Your Client Acquisition System should be focussed on developing long-term relationships and maximising the lifetime value of each customer.
Make a sale to acquire a customer. Don’t acquire a customer to make a sale.
Once you change your focus from maximising a single sale to building a decade-long relationship, you’ll see your communication and processes change.
Everything you do in your business should be proactively focussed on this long-term relationship.
I’ll give you two examples of this.
Passively waiting for me to return
I love music and spend literally hours a day listening to records. Yes, the big black disc variety!
Recently, I upgraded the speakers in my lounge, and I am extremely happy with my purchase. I was also delighted with the service I received.
I had some questions before buying, as I had settled on three different speaker models and wanted advice as to what would best suit my setup and room. The guy on the other side of the email exchange was knowledgeable and helpful.
Hi-Fi is an amazing business to be in. Very few people who buy the kind of equipment I bought, only buy one set of speakers in their life. I’m on my fourth pair in the last 8 years!
Building a relationship in this industry can result in sales for years and years, and audiophiles only ever upgrade, so the customer value grows and grows.
Due to the conversations we had before my purchase, the seller knows exactly what other equipment I have in my system. They already know the next item I should upgrade, to match the quality of the new speakers.
Unfortunately, they are not doing anything. I’ve had no emails; no online remarketing; no direct mail.
They are waiting on me to remember to go back to them, when I am ready for the next upgrade. There is no ‘if’ about it. I am going to make several more hi-fi purchases in the years to come. They should do everything they can to make sure I don’t go anywhere else.
Actively building the relationship
Amazon is the complete opposite.
Now, the chances of you, dear reader, running a business the size of Amazon is admittedly very close to zero. But here’s the reality: Amazon is your competition, no matter what you sell.
Even if what you sell is not available on Amazon, they set the expectation in your customer’s mind.
I just looked at my Amazon account, and it looks like I placed my first order in 2002. I only placed three orders in the whole of 2002. I’ve had two orders delivered just this week. Every year I’ve ordered more and more from Amazon.
They work hard to build and maintain this relationship. As Seth Godin points out, every time I go to the store, they rearrange it just for me. Everything I want and am interested in, is right there in front of me. I don’t have to go looking for it. When I do need something, it is easy to find and even easier to buy.
Amazon makes sure I keep coming back.
What does the moon look like?
At this stage, I want to caution against what your immediate reaction might be…
‘My business is different, that won’t work for us.’
If that is your reaction, please note it down… and then take immediate action. Grab a notepad and start writing down how you could build and maintain long-term relationships in your business.
Don’t worry about ‘how’ you will actually do it. Just dream. What if?
- What can you do to educate your prospects?
- How can your business be more helpful?
- How can you follow up with your prospects and leads, in such a way that they want to do business with you again and again?
- What could your business be like, if every customer bought from you just once more? How could you do that?
- Are you using automated email follow-up?
- Facebook retargeting, to leads and existing customers?
Remember, even after someone buys from you, they are back in the Client Acquisition System – your newest customer is your competition’s best prospect.
If you are unsure, let me know. I’m happy to help.