Save Yourself from Looking Foolish

The email that showed up in my inbox yesterday from Hyundai Motors reminded me of the importance of list segmentation. And how your business can look foolish, lazy and ignorant if you don’t use it. This email, and I actually got two of them, so I must be in the database twice, invited me to “Save big. Think big” at the Hyundai summer Sales Event.

“Lori, thinking of upgrading? As a Hyundai owner, you have the chance to act fast and save big.”

Really? I just bought my new Hyundai in January. They think I should upgrade already? Clearly they’ve just thrown all the email addresses they have into one giant vat. Everyone gets the same offer regardless of whether she has a six-year old car or a six-month old car. I’m surprised that a company such as Hyundai doesn’t realize that segmentation can strengthen customer relationships, not to mention increase sales.

List segmentation can be as simple or complex as you like

If you have different categories of people in your database, and you should, make sure you’re segmenting your lists. You can do this even if you’re using something as simple as a basic spreadsheet. Create some kind of designation for customers, for prospects, for vendors, etc. You could take it a step further and segment customers by what product or service they’ve purchased or in the case of prospects, which one they are interested in.

Now when you send out offers, you can make them specific to each category of recipient. You become more relevant and credible and your offers will be more effective. Trade in your six-year old car and get our special Eco-Trade Bonus! Been thinking about buying a whirly-gig to improve efficiency in your financial services office? Now’s the time because…

When it comes to ways to thank your customers, list segmentation can be equally important. Yes, it’s a nice idea to think that all clients are equally valuable, but the truth is they are not. Some spend more money or send you more referrals and therefore have a higher lifetime value than others. Others are easier and more fun to work with or require less hand-holding.

Dividing your customer appreciation efforts into tiers and rewarding the A-listers either more frequently or in a bigger way than the B’s and C’s is a smart strategy. The A-list clients are the ones who are the most profitable for you, so it stands to reason that you should spend more time and money to keep them. You don’t ignore the rest of your clients, but you may choose to put fewer resources into their retention.

List segmentation allows you to make more intelligent, accurate decisions. Need help figuring out the best method of segmenting or creating a tiered program to thank loyal customers? Set up a complimentary 15-minute strategy session with me simply by going to

How Well Are You Managing Your Contacts?

In this week’s issue of his free ezine called “Sales Caffeine,” Jeffrey Gitomer talks about contact management software. He believes “every salesperson needs some form of contact control and sales organization.” However, he wonders if the people who make the software, use the software because so many sales people don’t use it, claiming it’s cumbersome, too complicated, doesn’t serve their needs, etc.

He doesn’t slam or advocate any particular software and I won’t either. Everyone has different needs and the key is finding the right database or contact management software that works for your business. But it is essential to your business’ success that you have some way to keep track of information about your clients, referral sources and probable clients (formally referred to as prospects).

Keeping a database of this info allows you to consistently communicate with them and allows them the opportunity to send you more business. I was talking with a health professional last week who was telling me about interesting developments in her industry. She had already told me she does not have her patient information compiled into one complete database. So I pointed out to her that she is depriving her patients of important information, that she may be the only one to provide, because she doesn’t have a client database. Without the client or patient database, she’s unable to reach out and generate MORE business from them. WITH that database, the task would be super easy.What about you? What business are you missing out on by not communicating with your database?

What You Can Learn from Beyonce

Watching the American Music Awards last night got me thinking about how musical artists market to their “clients.” Everyone has clients, although you may not think of them as clients, they are. The artists’ clients are, of course their fans; when they win, they always thank the fans. But the artists also have to market to radio stations and any other channels that broadcast their music. And the channels that distribute their CDs are important to their success too – places like Walmart, Target and Amazon.In order to sell their music, the artists have to consistently market to their clients along with the other people who make them successful. Notice that the truly successful, popular musical artists are always coming out with new music, collaborating with other artists, showing up here, there and everywhere. They understand that if they’re not constantly in front of their customers, their customers will forget about them and move on to someone else. It’s exactly the same for your business.

Take a quick look at HOW musical artists stay in front of their customers. Awards shows like the American Music Awards or the Grammy Awards are one tool. Radio station interviews and co-hosting count down shows are others, as are print media interviews and photo shoots. These methods give fans a chance to “get to know” the artist and relate on a more personal level. (Oh, she likes surfing and Chinese food just like me!) You can accomplish the same goal with newsletters or blogs that share your and your company’s personality.

Now think for a second about artists you haven’t heard from in a while. Shania Twain comes to mind. She is at the top of the list of top-selling female recording artists and hasn’t released an album in several years. Some people might start wondering where she is. And in the meantime, they’re finding other artists to fill their listening needs. Others have forgotten about her altogether.

Don’t let that happen to your business. Stay in front of your clients so they can’t forget about you and when they need what you have, you are top of mind.