Retain your loyal customers for life

When loyal customers’ friends ask who they use for what you offer, they not only mention your name but tell them about something special you did for them.

When customers need to call you, they have your number in their cell phones, on refrigerator magnets or type your company’s name in their search box rather than a generic search for your types of business.

They know, like and trust you to take care of their needs and wants.

You and I know how important customer loyalty is but here’s the good news: 69% of our competitors don’t know loyalty is critical or how to gain and retain customers.

Here are 5 ways we have built loyalty:

1. We know our most loyal customers, what they want and need and how often.

2. We are selective. We go after prospects like our loyal customers. Their needs and wants are similar and we know how to make them happy.

3. We constantly look for ways we can help them in addition to the products or services they buy from us.

4. We refer business to them.

5. We touch them often when we have ideas or offers of value to them.

We share such field-tested strategies in our CD “Why Advertising Fails & What You Can Do About It.” For a free copy, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: Your customers’ best friend.

Avoid becoming a public disgrace

Every business owner, manager, entrepreneur or politician should learn a critical lesson from NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s cover-up of his fatal nursing home blunder.

By sending 9,000 covid-infected patients into NY nursing homes he cost up to 13,000 lives – then tried to cover it up.

Tragically, hospital beds were available but the governor ignored that and then published a book about his heroic leadership in the pandemic. Although he has been forced to admit what he did, the governor has not yet apologized to the families.

It may remind you of the Food Lion cover up after an investigative team showed a video of their butchers carelessly handling meat that could make customers sick.

When the expose was shown on national TV, Food Lion could have said, “We are as disturbed by this as we know our customers are. We are investigating and will get to the bottom of this. We sincerely apologize to all our loyal customers and the public.”

Food Lion didn’t – and it has taken years to recover their reputation.

In contrast, when someone poisoned bottles of Tylenol, Johnson & Johnson spent millions of dollars recalling every bottle of Tylenol and destroyed them. They apologized for something they did not do but protected people no matter what it cost.

Make this a mantra for you and your people: “Honesty is the best policy.”

When you or they mess up – and you will – apologize and make it right.

We share such field-tested strategies in “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius.” For a free e-copy, go to JerryBellune.com.

Next: Keep loyal customers for life

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Your abominable No-Man

When it comes big bucks CEOs, you could not pick a pair more different than Angelo Mozilo and Warren Buffett.

Angelo founded Countrywide Financial, a giant mortgage lender during the last big real estate bubble. His 2nd in command and heir apparent Stan Kurland tried to caution him about over-extending the company’s credit. Angelo ignored him.

Stan left the company with $25 million and formed a rival real estate lender.

You may remember that Countrywide went bust because its CEO would not listen.

His #2 man’s new company did not fail.

In contrast, Warren Buffett has built Berkshire Hathaway into a mega-billion dollar investment holding company.

Much of its success he attributes to his partner Charlie Munger. He calls Charlie his “Abominable No-Man.” Warren appreciates the good ideas Charlie suggests – and the bad ideas he shoots down.

A business owner we know attributes most of his company’s success to his wife and co-owner. He is a dreamer and risk taker. His wife is highly creative but she is a tough-minded realist, too.

She is his Abominable No-Woman.

If you don’t have someone like her, you had better find one. She can save you from your most foolish notions

We share such hard realities in our “Uncover Your Inner Sales Genius” e-book.

Next: Appeal to their emotions.

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

How to attract your Ideal Customers

Knowing your Ideal Customer is critical to attracting and retaining them.

Our friend Bill Edmonds advises you to narrow your research to better understanding of your Ideal Customers:

  • Demographics. This describes their age, education, income, work, where they live and who’s in their household.
  • Psychographics. Their lifestyle, buying habits, needs and wants. Do they like traveling? What entertainment do they enjoy? Their personal values? How they prefer to shop and in person or online?

With what you already know you might use surveys and focus groups to identify:

  • Their generation. Your Ideal Customers’ generation is more useful than a specific age. Gen X, Gen Y, Boomers, etc.
  • Stage in life. Entering college? Becoming parents or grandparents? Buying a house – up-sizing or down-sizing?
  • Interests. What activities do they enjoy? If they watch TV, which programs do they prefer? What books, magazines and newspapers do they read?

It helps to create an Ideal Customer persona that portrays their who and why. You can picture them considering your offers and making buying decisions. Call them Carl and Cathy Customer.

We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.”

For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.

Next: Retain Ideal Customers for life

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Gain new customers without costs

Russell Brunson started his 1st business while in college. Now he owns 3 online businesses and probably will start several more. That’s what entrepreneurs do.

Russell told MaryEllen Tribby he calls his businesses “funnels,” as in sales funnels. 

That makes sense. You make your offer and prospects either buy or they don’t. 

If they buy, you’re in business. If they don’t, you try something else.

His goal in creating funnels is to break even. If he spends $1 and make $1 from the other end of the funnel, he’s won. 

A funnel that breaks even on cold traffic – not his existing list – means he gained new customers at no cost. Anything else they buy from him is pure profit.

When we started publishing, it took us 11 months to break even. Most new companies take longer. After that, it was profit.

Russell’s mentor, Mike Litman, told him that “Amateurs focus on the front end.” That didn’t make sense until he grasped the concept of a “break even funnel.”

Rarely is Russell profitable on his initial front end funnels. In fact, a lot of them lose money on the front end. But as he attracts more customers and they buy more from him, the profits begin to arrive.

That’s why you need sound research and a strong business plan. Before you’re through, knock 10% off your projected sales and add 10% to your projected costs. You will come closer to becoming profitable.

We share such field-tested strategies in “Killer Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs.”  For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: Concentrate on ideal customers

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

What we can learn from Walt Disney

When you think of being visionary, compare your vision with Walt Disney’s vision for Disneyland 65 years ago:

“Physically, Disneyland is to be a small world in itself. Encompassing the things that were good and true in American life… dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America.

“I don’t want the public to think about the world they live in when they are inside our world created for them. Beyond physical places, we want to bring people along into an entirely different world, with our philosophies and ideas, our characters, our stories, our past, present and future, so they are a part of it and never want to leave.

“At age 12 or at age 62, we want them to feel curiosity, wonder, awe, fascination, joy, and attachment. Within this world, we want them to experience discovery and adventure, fun and entertainment, education, participation, and recognition. They will not just come to visit our places or to the theater to see our films. They will bring us into their homes and into their hearts. We will never settle for having customers or fans — they will be Disney people. This world will never be completed. It will always be under construction, expanding, diversifying, playing more and more roles in peoples’ lives.”

Our thanks to Rick Houcek for sharing this visionary document.

We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a STAR (Someone They Always Remember).” For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com

Next: With vision, you flourish

Leave no money on the table

Whatever happened to Joyce who used to do business with us? No, she didn’t die. She just quit doing business with us.

Why? Did we do something wrong?

No. Joyce decided she could afford to advertise on TV based on the business our advertising had brought her.

We need to reactivate Joyce and other of our lost or inactive customers.

Go through your customer list. Highlight the people who have not bought in the past 3 years. Send them a postcard. Text them. Email them. Send them your weekly blog. Call them. Find out how they are doing.

Our friend Ruth King recommends you write or call with a message that says:

“Thank you for your past business. I was concerned because we haven’t taken care of your _____ in the past few years. What can we do to help you in you again?”

Be prepared to find out that they thought you went out of business because they haven’t heard from you. And they will tell you what it will take to help them again.

One of Ruth King’s clients sent 100 “we want you back” postcards. Cost: $50. Got back 3 clients and a $10,000 job. The postcard paid for itself many times over.

The cheapest way to grow your business is to reactivate your lost customers. Set aside a single hour a week to call them.

We share such field-tested strategies in our “Killer Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs.” For a $20 personally autographed copy, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Your vision for your business

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Writing Tip: Tune up your senses

Good afternoon, fellow ink-stained wretches.
Here’s a little New Year’s gift for you.

Daily life rends to dull our senses.
It should tune them up.

How often have you driven a familiar route on auto-pilot?
You go this way so often you barely pay attention.
Even veteran reporters and writers occasionally tune out.

Bob Greene makes us look at daily life differently.
Bob is a Chicago journalist and bestselling author
He was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.
That’s a good place to read old magazines or take naps.

While waiting, Bob turned on his Big Eyes and Big Ears.
He saw a woman and her aging father sitting together.
She showed an old magazine to her father.

“Do you know who this is, Dad?” she asked.
Her father studied the cover and said, “He’s an actor.”
“That’s right,” she said with unmistakable relief.

Her tone will be familiar to those who care for aged parents.
They worry about what years do to those who raised them.

“Do you know which actor?” she asked, hope in her voice.
He did not reply though the name was on the cover.
“Brad Pitt,” the daughter said. “They’re getting divorced.”
The cover story was about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
The magazine reported their marriage was on the rocks.

The magazine was old.
The couple separated in 2016.
“That’s right,” the father said. “Brad Pitt. I know him.”

His daughter was checking on her dad’s memory.
It was a delicate way to check his recall.
Brad Pitt had no idea how his likeness was used.
Yet he was part of something precious and profound.
His face helped a daughter check up on her dad.
She had improvised a mental diagnostic tool.

She smiled at her father and took his hand.
Then they rose and went in to see his doctor.

Had Bob Green been napping, he would have missed this.
He watched an intimate moment between two people.
He knew neither of them and may never see them again
But he wrote to share with us a profound moment.

That’s what keen observation can give us.
I hope Bob’s story touched you as it did me.
You can witness such magic, too.
Just open your eyes and stay tuned in.

Want more of such clear writing tips.
Order An Editor’s Guide to Compelling Writing.
It’s $9.99 by writing JerryBellune@yahoo.com

3 success strategies for 2021

Business owners and managers who survived and thrived in 2020, says our friend Ruth King, used these 3 simple strategies:

1. They paid close attention to their customers….even when they didn’t want to sell them anything. They reminded their customers that they were there for them. These messages helped keep customers aware they were thinking of them. We send these Business Blogs to our customers weekly.

We  also call to check with them for news for our business pages. This way we remind them that we care abut their successes and want to let our readers know about them.

2. They reactivated inactive customers. They looked for customers who had bought in the past but not recently. They found reasons to activate their inactive customers with a new product or service offer.

We look back at this time last year for who advertised what and contact dormant accounts to find out how we might help them increase sales and revenue.

3. They reviewed past quotes and proposals. Some of these quotes/proposals turned into sales a year later. The comment from many customers, “No one followed up with me. You’re the first.”

We share such field-tested strategies in our 3-CD “Make Yourself a Super Star” self-study course. For details, email JerryBellune@yahoo.com.

Next: Leave no money on the table

Copyright 2021, The Bellune Co., Inc.

Take care of your dollars in 2021

A business broker friend congratulated us on our financial management during the 2020 pandemic. He said we did not lose near as much money as many other small businesses. We appreciate his compliment but it was OUR money we were losing.

What we did was not brain surgery.

We looked at what we were doing that was profitable and asked how we could use it to maintain or increase revenues.

We looked at what we were doing that cost us money and decided which we could cut back on or cut out.

We did it in two stages.

We cut what did not produce enough revenue to at least pay for itself. 

For example, with so many locked down businesses where we distributed our newspapers, we cut out delivering to those locations to cut printing and delivery costs.

As they began to reopen, we began delivering to them again. That increased costs but was offset by sales revenue.

We’ve since asked many of our writers to take a break for a few months to save space and cut printing and delivery costs.

With far higher web site traffic, we invite business owners to advertise online. 

Take care of your dollars in 2021.

We share such ideas in “Maverick Entrepreneurs’ Million Dollar Strategies.” 

For a $20 personally autographed copy, contact us at 803-359-7633.

Copyright 2020, The Bellune Co., Inc.