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

Designing Profitable Communications

Let's continue with lessons about communicating for customer retention. In the last issue, you learned how to increase retention while creating messages that customers actually want to receive.

Today you'll learn the three reasons you should communicate with customers -- there are only three reasons, and you'll be surprised what they are. If you're having customer retention issues, you'll want to apply what you learn today.

Next month you'll learn specific ways to measure your investment in business relationships. This will include some self-regulated customer retention efforts that will keep business relationships meaningful.

I'd like to take a moment to welcome several new members to Applying Strategic Relations -- members benefit from special reports, hundreds of articles, and real answers through the discussion forum. Join the hundreds of individuals who have access to this unique resource.

Wishing you prosperity and strong business relationships,

At your service,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

Ps. It makes my day when you share your success stories with me, so write often; I'm always interested in hearing from you.

Methods For Designing Communications So That You Keep Your Most Profitable Customers

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

No matter what anyone else will tell you: there are three and only three reasons to communicate with a customer. These reasons are more important than anything you've been taught about business communications.

The THREE reasons are:

All three of these reasons must exist in every customer communication if you want strong profitable business relationships. It's like the legs of a stool; you'll need all three for your message to stand on its own.

WARNING: Don't communicate with customers to impress them, talk about yourself, to tell them what to buy, to put down a competitor, demonstrate your graphic skills, to satisfy your managers, or even to develop your brand.

That's right, without observing these three important reasons your communications will repel profitable customers.

When every customer interaction observes these three points, you'll build rapport, credibility, and establish the trust -- but how do you design communications to maximize the retention of the right customers:

  1. Simplify information sharing. It's not your job to impress customers with how smart your organization is -- customers don't purchase because you're smart, they purchase because you'll make them smarter about solving the problems that keep them up at night. Help customers get the answers they seek in easy simple terms that don't require special translations.
  2. Increase dialog using bidirectional interactions. Communications is about conversation. Give the receiver an opportunity to respond while moving them towards a conversation where you can better understand their concerns, help them solve problems, and ask questions. The more you can get customers involved, the more they will appreciate the interaction (and do business with you.)
  3. Start with a known buyer. Wrap everything you do around a specific identifiable target audience that you can prove purchases what you offer. It's your duty to know everything about this buyer, including: how they buy, what they buy, the reasons they buy, whom they get information from, and many more points too numerous to list here. (Knowing your buyer isn't the same as knowing your customer.)
  4. Communicate for function over flash. It doesn't matter how nice your message looks if it doesn't conveys value to its intended audience. Often marketing professionals want to show off they skills so you'll be impressed enough to approve their work. It's not about how pretty it looks or how clever; it's about the results the communications create. If it doesn't produce sales, throw it out.
  5. Communicate with a purpose. Every time you contact a customer, have some clear reason for doing so. It's a waste of a customer's time and your resources if you aren't delivering something a customer can use. Even selling messages should leave a customer happy to receive them.

    (For more ways to design communications to maximize customer retention)

Challenge your marketing and sales departments to cut out all unnecessary communications. If what you say doesn't extend mutual benefit, increase value received, or process a transaction then it's a waste of time.

Imagine, how much time you'll have available for billable services if you cut away wasteful communications?

© 2005 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.

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