I strongly advocate for deliberate and powerful efforts to keep your best buyers close to your company. This is called cultivating and nurturing (C & N).
What is a best buyer?
Best buyers are clients and customers who repeatedly buy your top level offerings. The specifics of what constitutes repeatedly differ from firm to firm and among industries. Your top level offerings are those products and services that deliver tremendous value at a price or fee commensurate with that value. There are usually additional characteristics, such as interest in knowing the CEO or Owner; paying quickly; being an early adopter of new offerings; longevity; taking pride in their relationship with you and your company.
Why cultivate and nurture best buyers?
Best buyers are your most likely source of revenue growth for the foreseeable future. Because they are attuned to your company, they are attracted to your marketing and they buy quickly, thus maximizing sales cycle speed. They are influencers among their circle, advocating in your favor to others. They are the critical mass you need to succeed with new offerings.
Best buyers expect reciprocity
Your best buyers know their status with your company and expect you to acknowledge it and reward them for it. The quickest way to lose a best buyer is to take them for granted. When I’ve been a long-time, willing, loyal buyer and the company takes me for granted, I am done with them forever. Nothing will bring me back. Your buyers feel the same.
The antidote to taking them for granted is a deliberate, forward thinking program of cultivating and nurturing them.
A Proven Cultivating and Nurturing (C & N) Program
The two essentials are timing and content: the frequency of your C & N efforts and what they look like.
I used to think that frequency depended on what you sell. I realized that buyers don’t think like that. They think about how often they think about your company, or have the opportunity to mention their pleasure with your company to others.
Therefore you have to plan frequent C & N efforts, no matter what business you are in. And you never know when a buyer may have an unexpected need that they want you to meet. An architect client was surprised when a developer unexpectedly bought a property and wanted plans in a short time frame. That architect was top of mind for that developer because of the architect’s C & N program.
The ideal C & N program contacts your best buyers once a month. It is important that you vary the content and delivery method.
Invite your best buyers to see you in person. Here is a yearly plan:
- One-on-one or small group breakfasts or lunches
- ‘Drinks-and-learn’ reception with a speaker on a topic of interest after work
- Invitation to sporting or entertainment events
- A symposium or conference for all your best buyers and their peers
These options can be adotped by your company today, and implemented quickly. Begin with the one-on-one breakfasts and lunches while you plan the symposium or conference for a year from now.
Your best buyers deserve customized content that clearly provides value specifically for them. This means that the customized content is about how to help them grow their own revenue, not about your offerings customized for them. You will need some subject matter experts to provide this for your various buyers.
You simply cannot make a better investment in your own growth than by helping your buyers grow their companies.
Formats may include:
- A white paper or report
- A booklet on a topic of interest, printed and mailed
- A one-page printed piece that they can keep handy
- A checklist they can share with their executive team
- Forecasts and statistics that are relevant to them
- Books by their favorite authors, not necessarily business-related
- Books powerful industry leaders. Make a few notes about pages they would find interesting and deliver by FedEx
- A clipping from a publication that is relevant to a specific buyer
- A list or other similar compilation of their potential buyers
- Business news that impacts the location of their company
- A podcast or video that made you think of them
- A card or note thanking them for being part of your life
Right here, in this single newsletter, you have a plan to cultivate and nurture your best buyers for the coming year. Print it and begin implementing today. Change the order of actions as you need to, but do not wait until you “have everything in place” to begin. Begin with one monthly piece and make several calls to get breakfasts and lunches on your calendar. Appoint an internal champion who will have responsibility and authority to implement the year-long plan.
“I never even thought about best buyers until I started working with Susan. It turned out that we have quite a large number of them. When we sent the first booklet, several people called us to ask about another service we offer. Our first ‘drinks-and-learn’ reception was packed. Our best buyers are now coming to us even more often. We are tracking the revenue from this group and it is up by 29% in six months.” B. T., CPA and Principal of BT Financial Consulting