Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mengelola relasi Customer untuk meningkatkan sales

When I was a student at the Naval Nuclear Power School (on my way to becoming a submarine officer), one of things I never wanted to see on my exams was the acronym GCE, which stands for Gross Conceptual Error. GCE on your paper indicates that — apart from a simple math error or terminology error — you simply did not understand an important concept.
A GCE that many CEOs have is that relationships can be managed effectively by essentially not managing them at all. Even with the outstanding customer relationship management (CRM) tools that most companies have adopted, managingrelationships outside the new sales pipeline is simply not done.
Why do we need to manage those relationships that are not in the new sales pipeline (both current clients and networking resources)?
  • We’re leaving money on the table. Happy clients should be repeat buyers, and it costs between seven and nine times less to keep them than it does to acquire a new customer.
  • There’s great value in a quality introduction. A quality introduction from a networking partner or a satisfied client engenders trust with a prospect and drives down the cost of sales.
  • It stabilizes fluctuations in cash flow. When more of your business comes from your relationships, you don’t need to rely on traditional marketing as much to keep your pipeline full. Your network can deliver business efficiently and consistently.
  • It increases company value. Loyal customers increase company value by making future cash flows more predictable. The more predictable your future free cash flows, the greater your company value.
I recently interviewed Craig Strent, the CEO of Apex Home Loans, at the Strategic Business Forum ( listen to the interview here). When he and his business partner started the company in 1998, they focused — like most mortgage companies at the time — on direct mail and telemarketing. When their direct mail response rate dropped from 3 percent to a fraction of 1 percent in 1999, they were forced to find a new way to bring in business. They dropped direct mail, closed their telemarketing department, and based their business development on relationships (networking and customer loyalty).
How did it work out for Apex Home Loans? In 2013, some of the accolades the company earned were:
  • Smart CEO list of fastest 50 growing companies (emerging growth category)
  • Mortgage Executive Magazine’s list of Top 100 Mortgage Companies in America
  • Scotsman Guide’s list of Top 75 Lenders in the U.S.
  • Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America
  • Washington Business Journal’s list of Top 10 Home Mortgage Lenders (Greater Washington)
I’m not going to write the definitive work on relationships in a short article, but here are a couple of suggestions:

1. Don’t let your company’s networking be ad hoc

Start by figuring out who in your company is great at networking and develop systems to replicate whatever those people are doing. I also recommend two books: Networking is Not Working by Derek Coburn and The 29% Solution by Dr.Ivan Misner.

2. Invest in customer experience

Along with referrals, repeat business is Apex Home Loans’ primary source of business. Most people can’t remember the name of their loan officer one year after closing, and since loans turnover every five to seven years, that’s leaving money on the table. Craig addresses this a few ways:
  • Measuring customer experience. If you don’t measure it, you can’t change it. Apex Home Loans uses a net promoter score and incentivizes great feedback.
  • Add value indefinitely. Apex Home Loans doesn’t stop servicing the mortgage after closing; they monitor it for the life of the loan. They communicate periodically with each individual client by sending customized emails that let them know when it’s a good time to make a change, what some mortgage behaviors might do for them, etc.
  • Be unforgettable. Besides sending their clients four pieces of mail a year, Apex Home Loans also sends each client and others in their network a dollar scratch-off lottery ticket on their birthday, along with a handwritten note. It’s a big investment in time and money, but you’ll never forget them after you receive that first lottery ticket.
Ingar Grev is the founder of The Strategy Tank — a think tank for CEOs — and owner of the Washington, D.C.-area franchise of The Growth Coach. A technology, leadership and strategy expert, Grev helps executives and small business owners earn more, work less, and see what life looks like outside the office. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds an M.S. and MBA from the University of Maryland.


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