From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Long-Term Buying Relationships

In the last lesson, I shared tools to help you take focused actions to improve relationships in your organization, plus how to help your prospects make decisions pertaining to your own solutions. Today's lesson will show you how the action your prospects or customers take turns passive observers into active relationships.

You will see how actions help identify those most likely to purchase, while building a foundation for multiple buying interactions built on proven progress. Use tools shared in the last issue to get more from this newsletter and turn your commitment to what you are reading right now into revenue producing customer relationships.

Next month, you will discover lead generation strategies that will transform reason and actions into a magnet for attracting new customers to your business. New (and renewed) relationships can mean stronger revenues on yesterday's budget.

This newsletter is about you. I measure each issue against your "greatest challenges" as identified by surveys of readers and clients. If you have not yet shared your challenges in building ethical and profitable business relationships with customers, employees, or strategic partners, take this brief survey now.


Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Ps. You are busy and probably joined this newsletter to save time finding solutions for relationship challenges in your business. However, what value are solutions if you do not do anything with them. Hold yourself accountable, share the results of your success, share this newsletter with your team, and write with your questions.

Creating Profitable Long-Term Relationships With Valuable Customers

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Repeat customer transactions are up to six times less costly than acquiring new ones. When you create profitable long-term relationships with valuable customers, you double this value while spending less. Find high value customers to improve your marketing and acquisition efforts with these simple steps.

  1. Focus on those most likely to buy. Spend time with people who are just like the profitable customers you have, but who are hurting for solutions. When you find prospects that need you most, not only will your sales cycle be shorter, but also they will appreciate your proactive efforts. Whom do you already know who has taken action towards the purchase of your offer?
  2. Induce response that qualifies buyers. Instead of pursuing prospects from a larger universe, create marketing that brings forward those most qualified to purchase. Use marketing with a lower per interaction cost to produce the leads that are further qualified before they work with sales for a specific solution. How do your marketing efforts qualify a buyer before they become a lead?
  3. Start buying actions small. Get prospects to buy something that identifies their interest in a particular solution. For a technical product, introduce a low cost selection guide or needs analysis that helps the prospect identify a specific solution. For a complex sale, try an educational product that helps prospects understand certain aspects of the problems you solve. What tools do you provide to help prospects choose your solution?
  4. Survey and address customer challenges. The more you know about your profitable customers concerns and those challenges that keep them away from their objectives, the better you will be able to focus on what interests them. Integrate details learned here into your marketing efforts to prove you are the right provider of this solution. How do you concretely demonstrate you are the solution provider of choice?
  5. Use customer feedback. Hidden in every complaint, concern, and suggestion are diamonds to discover that can improve retention and satisfaction. Let customers know you are listening by demonstrating the actions you take because of their feedback. What are you doing to thank them for feedback, show them how you used it, and convey any results created?
  6. Concentrate on profitable customers. You do not want just any customer; you want those most profitable for your organization to serve. Use what you know about existing customers to target those specific prospects most likely to generate the greatest profit for your organization. Use measures at each customer interaction point to qualify these individuals according to profitable customer characteristics. Which specific characteristics separate profitable customers from those who are unprofitable?

Take these efforts in both your prospect universe and your existing customer base. If you spend more time marketing existing customers (and those who look like them), you will keep customers buying month after month. Concentrate on campaigns and materials that produce the best response, demonstrate in every correspondence that you are really listening to customer concerns.

The small profitable actions customers or prospects take build bonds in a long-term buying relationship. Each action signals further compliance in choosing your solution. These interactions also provide a better understanding of the wants of that audience, which helps sales professionals tailor their efforts for higher closing ratios.

Answer the questions provided here with your team. These steps bring forward individuals who are more likely to purchase, and shows you how to keep abreast of their interests to continue the buying relationship. Build these steps into your marketing and sales efforts to increase customer retention, while improving profitability.

© 2004 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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Do you want profitable customers who purchase month after month? Discover a sequential approach for building and retaining a more profitable customer base. Report shows you how to identify, acquire, and keep customers that actually cost less to serve. Learn now to increase revenues while improving profits

Justin Hitt, consultant and author of "Cultivating Your Best Customers, Part I of II: How to Get more Profits by Cultivating Your Best Customers" available online at

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