I just ran across an article that outlined the recent results of some studies that again show that more than 85% of our decision-making is EMOTIONAL and not rational. We’ve all known this to be true on a very basic level, but for whatever reason, we still cling to this notion that we need logical arguments to convince people of our point of view.

It’s no different when we are pulling together a sales and marketing strategy. Even though we know that emotional triggers drive the decision, we continue to sometimes force our logic into the conversation.

Have you ever heard this phrase? “Most businesses sell things so that they can have customers. We have customers so we can sell them things.” This is one of my favorite quotes (if you know who said it, let me know). It speaks to the fact that selling more to existing customers is more profitable for your business, and for your customer because it reduces your marketing cost and their supplier complexity.

The best way to sell more to existing customers, is to build a relationship and a history with them. And the best way to do THAT – is through direct marketing. Direct marketing doesn’t just mean Direct MAIL. It can include personal visits, events, sales calls, social media as well as direct mail.

In this article I’m going to give you a task list that will get your customer audience started – so you can connect with them on an emotional level.

  1. Get a list of existing customers. This may seem obvious because “everyone has a customer list.”? This is a list I want you to start BY HAND. Don’t just do a data dump. Pull your team together and literally start listing people and companies that are top of mind for you. This should not be a HUGE list. You might have 5 or 10 or maybe 50. But not too many more than that. This is the list of either great customers or crappy customers. The great one’s you’ll want to create strategies for. The crappy ones you’ll want to discuss and see if you want to make them great or refer them out. Once you’re done with that, you can go to your database and pull down some more customers that might be in the “danger of losing” category. And see what the deal is with that. The question you’re asking here is – “Will building a connection with this person/company increase my sales and profitability?”
  2. Segment and group these customers according to “benefit segments.”? These would be groupings that might include something like “Customers who like having stuff overnight, Customers who order in small quantities, Customers who use our product outside, etc….” Notice that these groupings are based more on how your customer experience and interact with your product or service and not just their demographics or location. This kind of grouping or segmentation is KEY to increasing your profit margins and building great relationships and connections.
  3. Develop a profile of these customer segments and the decision-makers in each one. Think of this as literally developing a Facebook or LinkedIn profile for this personified customer. Is it a man or a woman, what is their name, where do they live, what is their day like. This is the best way to get into their world. Start a list of what’s important to them in their personal and professional life.
  4. For each group, make a connection between what’s important to them and what you actually provide that solves their problem or challenge. Use index cards or sticky notes in two colors. Use one color to list what’s important to these customers, then use the other color to list the offer that you provide that gives them that.

Whew – that was some work wasn’t it. But it will be worth it when it comes to creating direct marketing campaigns that really connect.