Relationship Marketing – Is it really necessary?
And can you afford to keep your head in the sand?
I have a mate, who’s in his own business, he’s a motor mechanic and he was the only one in his town. It’s a town not too dissimilar to the one I live in, so I’m familiar with the dynamics.
For a long time I have been urging him to use Send Out Cards to build closer ties with his customers and not to take his relationship with them for granted. You know, sending them thank-you, birthday and Christmas cards and the like. But he’s older, a little bit stubborn and he truly believes he doesn’t need such rot! (His words not mine).
You see, he’s an old school motor mechanic who works on the premise that because he’s good at what he does, and he had the unique advantage of being the only mechanic for some distance around, that he was safe in his little world. And in some ways he was right of course. Going elsewhere requires his customers to put themselves out and entails extra time and expense and besides they know he’s good at what he does. Moreover, because of this he has been able to charge out at a top rate.
Well, a couple of months ago, a new bloke came to town, and yes, you guessed it – he’s a motor mechanic. He’s started working out of the big shed on his property and he also has a large well equipped mobile van, so he can take his service to the customer.
Unfortunately this new mechanic is not a client of mine, though I wish he was, because he uses the same system. Since his arrival he has sent out personalised post cards to the town’s folks announcing his arrival and inviting them to try him out.
Apparently, according to my mate he also sends them thankyou cards and has instigated a loyalty program offering special benefits for his customers and to really rub salt into the wound, he is charging them less.
According to my mate, “this upstart” has already made enough inroads into his customer base for him to feel it. I said to my mate, “it’s not too late, so why don’t you copy him and communicate with your customers and while you’re at it make a big noise about the fact that you have been looking after them well for many years.”
I couldn’t believe his response, “Nah, it’s only the newer folks in town going to him, I reckon me mates will stay with me and besides I’ve matched his rate.”
I’m sure a lot of them will, but the drop off and lower charge may well cause him to have to reappraise some of his more expensive habits and pastimes.Ron and Sue