No matter your business, your customers enthusiastically respond to being appreciated. They want a deep sense that you really are glad they buy from you; that their longevity is recognized and valued; and that every time they make another purchase, your appreciation of them deepens.
Which companies excel at appreciation? In my personal experience, American Express and AAA Mid-Atlantic are exemplars of appreciation. Not a time goes by when the person I’m speaking with doesn’t thank me for my many years of business. They know what I like and cater to my personal preferences. Smaller size companies can do the same. Home Service Doctors in Northern Virginia created a Premier Member category that includes priority service times, special pricing, my personal plumber, and an overall sense that I’m not just another, undifferentiated, homeowner.
Your company has special buyers. How often and how well do you appreciate them? The more you appreciate them, the more they will appreciate you. This translates into an eagerness to stay with your company for years and to buy new offerings you create for them.
My work includes showing CEOs and Owners how to create dramatic business growth. One source of this growth is maximizing best buyer revenue. The CEOs and Owners make a list of their best buyers based on instinct, not data. Doing this surfaces personal qualities and special memories of buyers. They start to reminisce about times spent together, about deeply satisfying purchases, and about shared experiences.
By the time the CEO or Owner has finalized the best buyer list, they feel really great. They enjoy the satisfaction of having made these people happy, having relationships with them, and knowing that these buyers will be receptive to forthcoming overtures. People love being appreciated and creating a best buyer list is all about appreciation.
Express appreciation for your best buyers frequently and sincerely. I recommend the following to my clients. Take a page from my book and try them with your best buyers:
- Personally thank them at every opportunity. You simply cannot thank people too much. Remember, they have many options swirling around them. Your frequent thanks helps your company stand out from everyone else who is trying to get their attention. A special note: thank yous at Thanksgiving and Christmas are the worst times to thank your best buyers. When you thank them often throughout the year, you won’t need to follow the crowd at these annual routine thanking occasions.
- Create a system that keeps track of their buying history and that’s easy to access for you and anyone else they talk to. Your culture should be so focused on appreciating best buyers that every employee is familiar with these buyers. Every conversation should include references to prior purchases and their relationship with your company.
- Assign your best product development people to frequently create new, high-value offerings for these best buyers. Forget economies of scale and mass marketing. Your best buyers are worth the investment many times over. They will love offerings that feel made for them, and they will recommend you to their colleagues and friends. Being extremely appreciative of them will make them appreciate you more. They’ll have no hesitation to urge others to become your best buyers too.
Appreciation, expressed often and with deepest sincerity, gives you a competitive advantage no one can touch. Customers are reminded again and again that they know and trust you. They think back over their long history with you. They know you’ll deliver on your promises no matter what. There isn’t a single new feature or benefit that can compete with mutual appreciation.