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22 February 2019 | By Joe Mugan
You fill up your sink, but it seems to be draining. You look underneath and there is a leak! All the water you have collected is now heading out the other end, never to be seen again. What do you do? Well, you can just put the tap on. That should keep the sink full right? It is certainly one way to handle the situation. But what happens when the water runs out? The sink will empty. The best thing, and what you will most definitely do, is to fix the leak and stop water leaving and going elsewhere.
This seems obvious thought doesn’t it. It feels like I am just wasting your time. You could have spent that time checking your Facebook stream or working out what to do for dinner. Well before you write off this blog post, just answer me this, what if you replace the word “sink” with the word “business” or “company” and what if you replace the word “water” with the word “customer”.
Too many businesses race to fill their “sinks” with “water” and then are surprised to see that “water” disappear. Some businesses fill their “sink” and think that that is enough, but suddenly all the “water” is gone. You need to plug your leak! We all need to do everything we can to bring in new custom. We want to see year-on-year growth that helps our company reach the top of the ladder and its full potential. However, many companies do this at the detriment to their existing customer base. Their focus is solely on the customers coming in the front door, that they don’t see customers leaving out the back. In the business theory world, this is known as the Leaky Bucket Theory (yes, I replaced bucket with sink, but I am not sure how well my analogy would have worked for you if I talked to you about the leaky bucket you might have.)
This doesn’t mean to say you shouldn’t go after new business. This is very important to the growth of your business. But it isn’t critical to the continuity of your business, to the survival of it. If you have 100 customers now that spend £1000 each in year one, and you still have them at that rate in year two, congratulations, you are still in business making £100,000. If you have 100 customers in year one, and you add 20 in year two who spend £1300, but lose 40 of the original 100, you are now on 80 customers with a spend of £86,000, bad news, you are heading in the wrong direction. But if you don’t see the 40 and simply focus on the brilliant gain of 20, then you might realise too late.
So, what does this mean? Simple. Communication is key. Your existing customer base do not need to be won over and wowed like the new customer base do. A simple leaflet here, or a brochure there, a Facebook post or an email is all it takes to let them know you are thinking about them. Make them feel important and valued. Customer loyalty will mean you are still there years down the line.
We regularly send out leaflets, brochures, business cards and mailshots to our existing customers. We do this because they are who we have right now. They are the nearest thing we have to current revenue and future revenue. We have already won them over, now we just need to remind them why we value them, and why they chose us.
The simplest thing you can do is offer up a monthly leaflet updating them on prices or general information. Follow this up by sending out an updated brochure a couple of times a year to show you are active in the market. It really is that simple, so simple, anyone can do it. But when your leaflet lands on their desk, and your competitors does, they will recognise you and automatically favour you.
Don’t leave it too late to find and stop a leak. Focus on your existing customer base as much, if not more, than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
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