You might be considering an ad campaign right now, or trying to work out the best landing copy for your website, brochure or sales letter. You've read all the conflicting advice out there on marketing, copywriting, advertising and sales; you've considered your ROI on a B2B DM that maximizes conversion through your dynamic CTA, and you only need now to work out a message that captures your core demographic for optimum market penetration.
Let me make it all very simple for you.
There are three basic types of paying customers. The first is the one who will buy once and never come back, for whatever reason; the second is the customer who comes back, but never recommends you to others. The third is the advocate - the customer who will just keep delivering work to your door, through both repeat and referral business.
That's it. Just three. No matter your business, your product, your service: just three.
The first is a testament to your sales skill. You got them in the door, by hook or by crook; you captured their attention and led them to an impulse buy. Most businesses spend vast sums to draw in crowds of impulse shoppers, mainly because it's much easier to mathematically test ad copy when you can use immediate response numbers as an ROI gauge.
The common wisdom is that the second and third types are basically just happy versions of the first; the truth, however, is that there is a difference between the dissatisfied customer and the impulse shopper. Many dissatisfied customers are actually of the second type, even though they only bought from you once - had you done what it took to win their trust, they would have come back. The ones who buy on impulse do so because that is their preferred buying strategy: you never really had a chance with them beyond the first sale, except by luck.
The second customer isn't shopping for a product or service, but a relationship. They would love to trust you with their needs, to develop a long-term professional arrangement with you, but they must first be convinced. These folks don't want you to sell to them, for the same reason that marriage-minded singles don't consider a bar pickup to be progress. They want reliability, and they're tired of being disappointed; they're looking for stability. (They're the ones fundamentally responsible for the Keanu Effect.)
The third is a type unique from the second, but they won't reveal themselves as such until trust has been established. This is the customer who wants great service, wants a long-term relationship, but who also wants to share it with their other long-term relationships. Your repeat customers want security and trust for themselves; your referral customers want to extend those benefits to their entire social circle. These are the folks willing and eager to put their reputations on the line to extol your virtues. They are also the most likely to have originally heard of you through a referral themselves. They're not sold or convinced, but attracted.
The difference between Type One and Type Two is trust and reliance. The difference between Two and Three is value and integrity. Customer One buys a pitch, Customer Two establishes a confidence, and Customer Three embraces a cause.
That cause can be you, if you're up to it.
You can't convert one customer type to another - you can only structure your services and marketing to attract particular buying patterns, and even the best package won't compensate for an uninspired delivery. But as you contemplate the message that represents your business, consider your goals. Do you just want to make the sale? Or do you want repeat business that you can rely on? Or do you want a sales force of paying clients ready to sing your praises to other like-minded souls?
Sell, convince or attract: your clients await.
Keanu Effect (named after actor Keanu Reeves): the ability to carve out professional success in one's given field not by being the most talented or able, but by reliably showing up to work on time, by keeping professional confidences, and by not being a prima donna. As Woody Allen once said, eighty percent of success is showing up.