I live a stone’s throw away from a great school called Chapman University, which does an annual economic forecast that has earned a name for itself over the years.
Useless fact: I went through 50% of the MBA program at Chapman. Unfortunately, society rounds down when it comes to partial MBAs… so I have zero MBAs.
Anyway, my non-alma mater projected that in 2019, “higher interest rates will cool the housing market, job growth will slow, and the stock market will correct from its 2018 ascent.”
Worship your customers, especially the good ones
With the economic expansion getting long in the tooth, it’s a good time to roll out the red carpet for your customers. After all, it’s much easier to keep an existing customer than find a new one.
Provide the best service possible with a big smile on your mug. For bonus points – you do like bonus points, don’t you? – show you appreciate them in one or two ways.
- Send a gift with a personal note – There’s a right and a wrong way to give gifts. The right way is to send it: (a) not during the holidays, when they’re already receiving gift baskets by the pallet, (b) with a note about why you appreciate them, that you (c) mean every word of. Gifts to customers should not be given with the expectation of something in return. They’re just a genuine token of appreciation.
- Tell them! A mentor/client/friend of mine named Jeff will occasionally end calls by saying that he really enjoys working with me. Who doesn’t love feeling appreciated? This makes me want to jump through walls to get things done for Jeff. Telling customers that you appreciate them goes a long way. We do business with people not businesses.
Before the internet, the rule of thumb among B2B companies was to spend 2% of your gross on marketing. Nowadays, I generally see that number closer to 1%. Whatever your marketing budget, I encourage you to spend at least 10% of it this year trying something new. You might just hit a home run.
Cold calls… so hot right now!
Emails are annoyingly convenient. Many companies have shifted away from cold calling in favor of email, and also because millennials are allergic to making outbound calls. I can confirm this because I am a millennial, and the thought of cold calling makes me want to hide in my room and play video games.
Boldly go where your competitors won’t
Amazon had great example of “trying something new” this last Christmas season. They mailed out old school printed toy catalogs like Toys R Us used to send back in the 90s. And you know what? People loved it! Some folks even complained about not receiving Amazon’s junk mail catalog.
So, to heck with economist predictions! 2019 is gonna rock. We will worship our customers while people bow to our amazing website and email campaigns. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll try something new or even make a few cold calls. *Shudders*