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Report #1: Common Courtesy Is A Key Marketing Strategy
The printing company’s truck backed up to our warehouse door, loaded with about a hundred cartons of brochures for one of our companies. The driver got a pushcart out of the back and asked where we wanted him to take the boxes. Following our directions, he wheeled the cart full of boxes through our warehouse area and into a back office. |
“Just pile them over there,” I said. “We have to separate them by the title of the brochures packed inside before putting them on the shelves.”
“I’ve already done that for you,” the driver said. “And these boxes are labeled with the different titles right here on the side, to make it easier for you to access the right boxes.” He then proceeded to put the boxes in the right places on the shelves.
Then, as he left the building, he closed the warehouse door behind him.
And, incidentally, he thanked us for our business.
I don’t know if this surprises you or not, but that’s MARKETING! I’ll tell you this: this experience was a lot different than our experience with most vendors’ delivery people. This driver was courteous. This delivery man did more than was required of him. This delivery man let us know that our business was apreciated.
Common courtesies, you say. Unfortunately, these courtesies are not very common at all. In fact, they’re extremely rare. And it’s worth noting that our society, our marketplace, prizes that which is rare most.
This particular experience with this particular deliveryman may have been accidental. He may just be a naturally pleasant, considerate, helpful fellow. Or he may have taken it upon himself, for some unknown reason, to develop a pleasing personality, and to practice good customer relations.
But, if this is an accident, it is a great example of an accident that should be repeated on purpose, as a marketing strategy.
What is Marketing?
Most people expect an Report about “marketing” to address such subjects as advertising, direct-mail, increasing customer’s purchasing, stimulating referrals, finding a market niche, and so on. And they should, but in this Report, I want to let you know everything you think of as something other than marketing is actually marketing.
For example, most businesses think of maintenance as maintenance. The Disney parks think of maintenance as marketing, because the remarkable cleanliness of the parks is a major stimulant of positive word-of-mouth advertising. What aspects of your business aren’t thought of as marketing but should be thought of as marketing, and re-worked as marketing strategies?
QUALITY is certainly one of them. Product quality. Service quality. “In Search Of Excellence” author Tom Peters jokes about the retail executive who became aggravated at Peter’s criticism of his industry in a seminar, and cried out, “We are no worse than anybody else.” Peters had a graphic artist design a company logo with the slogan in it: we are no worse than anybody else.
Quality must be developed as marketing strategy, because no other marketing strategies can build and sustain a business without it.
Another aspect of business often overlooked as a marketing strategy is courtesy.
Courtesy can be expressed many different ways. Like the delivery man taking time to sort the boxes. Or the Horschow mail-order company sending each item ordered during the holiday season in a beautiful Christmas-green gift box, with a gold elastic ribbon, and a gift card, all at no extra cost. Or the Figi’s company, a mail-order marketer of gourmet foods and gifts, sending a personalized letter acknowledging receipt of an order and reassuring the customer that it will be shipped on time. Or the doctor who calls his patient at home, the evening after treatment, just to “check on him”. Or, even with a simple “thank you”.
It’s an important marketing principle: people want most what they have the least of. Today, somewhat sadly, the things most people get the least of are recognition and appreciation.
Gratitude As A Marketing Strategy
Many years ago, I took over a business with mammoth collection problems: almost all of its customers had open accounts and paid their bills ten to sixty days late (except those who didn’t pay at all). We quickly instituted a number of corrective measures, including tighter credit controls and policies, interests charges, a sequence of past-due notices, and collection calls. However, we also instituted a positive strategy. We started sending hand-signed thank you notes for prompt payment to anybody who did pay on time...those who were almost on time...and even late payers who responded to a past-due notice. Guess what happened? Those customers who received thank you notes became better paying customers.
I know a Doctor who started a procedure of giving fresh, long-stemmed red roses to his women patients who showed up for their appointment on time, or paid their bills on time, or referred another patient. “Funny thing,” he told me. “We no longer have patients missing appointments. Our collections have improved. Referrals are up. And, some guys are asking how they can get roses, too!
Here are a few specific ideas you might adopt, as ways of saying thank you:
I figured it up just the other day; in 1986, personally and for my various businesses combined, I signed checks for well over one million dollars, in payment for goods and services to all sorts of people and companies. And I don’t care what anybody says - a million bucks is a lot of money. Yet, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of the recipients of all that money who have expressed any gratitude in any formal kind of way. Only one of them found out and recognized my birthday.
Just saying “thanks” is a big step ahead of the competition today.
Source: 15 Secret, Money Making Reports!
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