Owners of a new restaurant were recommended to inviting residents of a nearby condo complex to a free dinner. Over two nights, the owners could get 150 people to start the buzz about the new restaurant in town.

The owners balked at giving away free food, which they estimated would cost them several thousand dollars. Yet they had spent $5,000 on a magazine ad!

This could be called “push and pray” marketing strategy. You push your ad out to thousands and even millions of people, and pray that some respond.

The food cost would have been less than the amount they paid for that ad,In just two days, the restaurant owners potentially would have created 150 satisfied customers to spread the word about their restaurant.

But the owners just didn’t get it. They refused to implement the strategy, and eventually they went out of business.

Business is about creating and managing relationships with current and potential customers. Find people who are already talking about you, engage them and give them something of value. This marketing strategy is called “pull and stay.” Pull potential customers to your business by engaging them, trade something they value for their name and contact information and stay in touch with them.

Customers Are Not an Interruption

If you’re in retail sales, are your salespeople that enthusiastic about your products? Instead of thinking of customers as an interruption, think of them as a word-of-mouth machine that can spread the word, good or bad.

Do you spend most of your time trying to get new customers? Do you treat new customers better than regular customers? If you know that it takes five to ten times the amount of effort to get a new customer as it does to keep an existing one, why would you do this?

Creating current satisfied customers is your highest priority. And why would you risk losing a current customer? It just doesn’t make sense.

Dissatisfied customers won’t necessarily complain, they’ll just go somewhere else.

Survey your current customers periodically. If you’re thinking of offering a new product or service, consider creating a “Stop Start Continue” campaign. Send all current customers an email with a link to an online survey. Let them answer anonymously. Ask your customers:

  • What should we stop doing?
  • What should we start doing?
  • What should we continue doing to meet or exceed your expectations?

Most people would be thrilled to know that a company cares so much about them, it values their advice. Another benefit of doing a customer survey: “Every point of contact is an opportunity to engage with your market.