Your Company’s Most Important Hidden Asset

If you’ve been in business for any time at all, you possess a certain hidden asset that can make you rich. The best thing is, this hidden asset is also hidden from all your competitors. Once you understand and take advantage of its true value, you’ll enjoy an instant and unfair advantage in your marketplace. The secret is simply this: your mailing list is everything. The more promotions you run to your existing customers, and the better your relationship with them is, the more value will accrue to your mailing list.

America’s first billionaire, Andrew Carnegie, once said: “You can take away all my factories, all my machinery, all my equipment, all my real estate, and leave me with my very best people — and I’ll have it all back in no time flat.” I love that quote, because I firmly believe in the value of good people. However, I want to add one more distinction. I say: “Take away everything from me, but leave me my best people and my mailing list and I’ll have it all back in no time flat.” That’s because a good mailing list is your meal ticket for life. It can produce enormous lifetime sales and profits.

It’s so much easier to sell to your existing customers than it is to sell to people who’ve never done business with you before. Your existing customers already know that you can deliver. So the first key to implementing this strategy is to understand just how valuable your mailing list is. It’s everything. Keep developing new products and services that give them more of what they want the most — and keep building your mailing list.

I’m shocked at the number of small businesses that don’t stay in touch with their best customers on a regular basis. What shocks me even more are all the small businesses that are constantly chasing after new customers and paying very little attention to their existing customers. Their attitude is that their existing customers know where they are, and when they need more of what they sell, they’ll come back automatically. That’s a huge mistake… because you can’t be sure it will happen.

Think of the best restaurant you’ve ever visited. If you’re like me, you probably frequent several restaurants that have Asset search company been very successful for years — even decades. I love using this restaurant analogy, because everyone has a favorite restaurant or two; and it’s easy to see that the secret to having a profitable restaurant is getting the customers to return repeatedly. Once they become loyal customers, they tell their friends and family, generating even more business. That’s the secret of success for every restaurant.

But that’s also the secret of success for every business, restaurant or not. No matter what business you’re in, getting customers to come back and do business with you repeatedly, for as long as possible, is the key to success. In order to do that you have to invite them to come back and do more business with you. You can’t just wait for them to come to you. It’s easy enough to be proactive. All you have to do is keep your mailing list in some type of spreadsheet or similar program, then contact those people on a regular basis. Develop new products, services, and offers that give them more of what you know is most important to them. Show them you really do care. Every business claims they care about their customers, but what are you doing to prove it?

That’s how most of your customers feel: what have you done for me lately? Just like the Janet Jackson song from the 1990s. So stay in touch with them, make them additional offers, hold special events just for them, and inform them of items you think might be of interest to them. It’s all about relationship building. The first key to building a good relationship is to show people you really care about them. That can be very easy to do if you have the systems and processes in place that let you do it.

Once you’ve put your mailing list into a spreadsheet program, segment that list by separating out your best customers. You define the best customers based on the amount of money they’ve spent with you. People tell you how serious they are by the actions they take. That’s why those who spend the most money should immediately be separated from the rest of your customers.

Then constantly think of new things you can do specifically for them, to catch and hold their interest, and use direct mail to stay in touch with them. You can also have someone call them on the telephone, or use social media to solidify those bonds. Do all you can to make them feel important and special, and keep offering them new products and services you feel they’ll be interested in. Customers go where they’re invited and stay where they’re appreciated. Remember that! Write it down and burn it into your brain.

If doing all this was simple and easy, then everybody would be doing it — and you know they’re not. Most businesses aren’t paying close enough attention to their old customers, because at first glance it seems easier to chase new customers than to put energy into solidifying existing relationships. Yet when their old customers see those “new customers only” promotions, they become resentful. They start thinking, “What am I, a walking wallet? I should be getting a special offer too. You should be doing something special for me. What have you done for me lately?”

Some business people can see the obvious, though, and many of them ask me, “What can I offer my existing customers?” The answer is something of a riddle: you offer them the same things, only different. Here’s what I mean: you want to give them more of what they bought in the past, but with unique twists. The new items have to be similar enough that they provide the same basic benefits and advantages that caused your customers to buy in the first place, but they must be unique enough that your existing customers get excited all over again.

If something is too new, many people will be put off and hold back because of fear. But if it’s too similar to what you’re selling, they’ll say to themselves, “I’ve seen this before,” and they’ll be bored and apathetic. Bored people don’t buy.

So there’s your riddle — and you can spend years trying to invent ways to solve it. In fact, you should, because making additional offers to existing customers is the fastest, simplest, and above all easiest way to get more people to give you more money. I find it shocking that a company’s mailing list almost never shows up on their assets list; that’s why I call it a “hidden” asset. Despite that, it’s the one most important asset you have.

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