All that glitters isn’t necessarily gold.
Scenario One: You have a base comprised of 80% loyal customers who are there year in and year out. They are on auto-pilot, will renew with you no matter what. You meet your numbers each year. These loyal customers are the foundation of your small business’s revenue stream.
Your loyal customers will never leave you. It’s like having a passive income stream. What sales rep or small to medium size business doesn’t dream of this scenario?
It’s really more of a nightmare than a dream. Read on.
Scenario Two: You have a base of loyal customers who bring out the best in your company’s core capabilities. Yours is a smaller, more diverse set of customers. They are demanding, in a collaborative way. Their contracts are longer-term and more lucrative. They stretch the creative capacity of your organization, and you theirs. Each project grows your collective knowledge, capabilities, quality of output and business outcomes.
This base of loyal customers demands cross-functional collaboration from their vendor/supplier partners. It’s an entirely different business ballgame.
Take a look at your own base of loyal customers. Which scenario do they fall into?
Is your business goal to grow and expand your company using your current base of loyal customers? Think again. They aren’t utilizing the breadth and depth of your capacity and capabilities in the first place. You shortchange the professional development of yourself and your staff.
Growing revenue is nice, but that’s not the same thing as business growth. Your current no-brainer, hands-off, passive business development strategy will not grow your business reputation as anything other than a one- or two-dimensional, low-price supplier. Ouch.
That’s not sustainable. Your business pipeline is clogged with low-hanging fruit types of customers. You have no capacity to develop and win more complex projects with more discerning customers. You are doing commodity business with commodity loyal customers.
Take a good look at your current base of loyal customers. Why do they keep doing business with you year after year? Like you, they perhaps are making the easiest choice: no change from last year. It’s just too easy to remain being a business couch potato.
Wondering why you’ve been pigeon-holed by current and future customers who won’t refer you? Don’t understand how you aren’t winning the type of business that will take your company to the next level of reputation and revenue?
Your answer starts by taking a good hard look at your base of loyal customers. They may not be who you really think they are.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. Babette develops business, technical and engineering professionals of worth. She remodels startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies experiencing difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams.
A recognized Top 50 Marketing & Sales Influencer, Babette’s blog won the 2014 Bronze Medal, Top Sales & Marketing Awards, Top Sales World. Her book on cross-functional collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.