It was great seeing so many familiar faces last week at the ASI Show in Orlando. What a nice way to start off the new year. The weather was colder than expected, but the training and the attendance were hot, hot, hot!
I ran into a lot of people I’ve known for a long time and it got me thinking about the tremendous difference between clients, non-clients and former clients. And it’s a lesson I think we should all take to heart.
I’m back in the office this week for a quick break in the action before heading out to Las Vegas next week for the training sessions I’m conducting at the PPAI Expo, then off to Dallas the following week for my presentations at the next ASI Show.
While the travel schedule can be hectic, I love being at these events, making the presentations and interacting with our clients and members.
Each year, I see a lot of people I know including clients, former clients and non-clients.
If you’ve been in sales or business for any length of time, you see and know people like this as well.
Your active clients: These are the people who benefit from the services you offer on an ongoing basis. They order from you regularly and form the foundation of your customer base. They can count on you, and you can count on them. These are the people we’re constantly looking for in business: Loyal clients who get what we do and who appreciate the value we bring to the table. Make no mistake, these are the people we’re in business for.
Second: Non-clients. Those who, for whatever reason, have never purchased from us and most likely never will. Many non-clients are happy to pick our brains and take advantage of whatever tips, advice, ideas, services or benefits we’re willing to offer them for free. But they will not spend any money with us, at all — ever. For that reason, one of the most critical and important prospecting skills we can develop is the ability to quickly identify non-clients, so we can prevent them from distracting our focus, tapping our resources and wasting our time.
Third: Former clients. People who at one point or another found enough value in our work to pay us for that value, but for whatever reasons, no longer do. If you’re like me, you appreciate former clients. You’re happy that you were able to be a part of their world and they were able to be a part of yours.
I’m really fortunate, because many of my former clients still get tremendous value from purchases they made from me years ago. One former client who I helped though a difficult time told me last week that he was able to get his mortgage paid off in 2017, he’s on track to do nearly a million in sales and he still uses our Getting Started program to train all his new reps. One of our AIM SmartEQP members was telling me last week how he’s been using our Customer Acquisition program to bring in new clients for years. He told me he’s launched more than 20 customer acquisition campaigns and it works for him every time — meaning that the most successful campaigns get him a lot of customers and the least successful campaigns still get him customers, but also show him exactly where things are going wrong, so he knows what to fix.
But it’s not always strictly business. At a trade show in Chicago, I ran into a former client in an elevator who thanked me for something I said in one of the original Top Secrets training programs. I was talking about how as a business owner one of the biggest benefits we have is the ability to determine how we spend our time. I talked about the fact that I had adjusted my schedule to drive my kids to school from the time they were in kindergarten, until they were in high school and could drive themselves.
Every day, for nearly twelve years, I got 20 minutes each morning of quality time with my kids to talk about school, what was happening in their lives or just to sit quietly and enjoy their company. He loved the idea so much that he adopted it for himself and drove his daughter to school every morning for years. He said it was one of the best recommendations he ever received. To this day, I think that was my very favorite elevator ride of all time.
I said earlier that our active clients are those we are in business for. But our former clients have also helped to mold us into the people we’ve become. For that reason, we owe them a debt of gratitude.
But we also need to be able to recognize the difference between a client and a former client.
It’s tempting to continue to think of those we’ve helped in the past as customers. But the reality is that if they haven’t purchased from you in months or years or decades, you can no longer realistically think of them in terms of being customers.
So consider the people you interact with.
Take some time to examine and understand what value you were able to provide to former customers that benefited them the most, so you can carry that value forward into the lives of your current, active customers.
Also examine the value that your current clients are getting from you that your former clients are no longer getting — so you can go back and offer them the opportunity to join you again and benefit from the products, services, skills and experiences you’ve developed since the last time you did business together.
Your clients and your former clients are solely responsible for 100% of your sales and profits to date. They are the gold you’ve managed to extract from the endless piles of dirt. Learn as much as you possibly can from them. I plan to do exactly the same in 2018!
If you’re new to the industry and need to get grounded in the essentials of promotional products sales, visit us online at topsecrets.com/gettingstarted. If you need to get clients now with no distractions and no excuses, visit topsecrets.com/tsca. Or, if you’re a smart, focused, independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, join the AIM SmartEQP community today at SmartEQP.com that’s SmartEQP.com.