Building Profitable Relationships, Rule 2
Rule #2 – Build a List and A-B-C it
The 80/20 rule states that 80% of a business's profits come from just 20% or less of your clients. 80% of your new clients come from 20% or less of your prospects. 80% of your referrals come from 20% or less of your contacts.
For example; if you're in network marketing 80% or your downline commissions come from 20% or less of your business associates. Now it may not be exactly 80/20 – in some cases it could be 90/10 and in others 60/40 – but there's definitely a case for identifying which clients, prospects, referral sources and associates are at the top of your list.
If you dig deeper, you'll find that most of this 80% of your profits, new clients, referrals and downline commissions come from less than 20% of the top 80%.
So how do you find and manage this top 80%?
That's what the A-B-C strategy is all about, finding, managing and profiting from your best clients, prospects, referral sources and associates. (Let's call this your contact list.
Let's look at how this works:
Analyze your contact list to see which category they fall into:
A contacts are your advocates, they are your cheerleaders who that look for ways to promote you and help you succeed. They refer good prospects, they share ideas and most importantly they know, like and trust you and recognize the value you bring to the table.
B contacts are similar to A's but are missing some of the above characteristics. While they know, like and trust you they don't actively act as your advocate. When asked will say good things about you. If someone is actively looking for the kinds of service you provide will mention your name.
C contacts are OK, they to know, like and trust you, but will seldom refer clients, share information or pro-actively promote you and the value of your services.
Of course there are the D contacts. Ones you sometimes wish you had never met, they drain your time and resources. These are the people who are always looking for free advice, trying to get but are never willing to pay or give back. My best advice for this list is to Drop them from your list.
When creating your A-B-C list categorize your contacts, not by how much they buy, but by the strength of your relationships and the total value they bring to the table.
Connect with your A and B list at least once a month.
Take them to lunch, send them cards of appreciation, send referrals their way. If you come across an great article or idea share it with your A and B list.
Your objective is to keep your A list as advocates and upgrade your B list to A's.
As far as your C list is concerned, connect with them periodically.
Make contact about 4 times a year. Include them in your birthday and holiday card list. Keep them in the loop and keep your name in front of them. Some will drop off, others will move up and others will stay the same and occasionally add value.
Of course it's a given that everyone on your list should be treated with respect and if clients receive great service.
Success Tip: Select 2 or 3 people on your list every day and do something to make them feel special.
One of my services is an on demand greeting card and gift service, I teach my clients a simple formula that when followed can have a tremendous impact both personally and professionally.
I have them send out 1 to 3 unexpected cards every day. Not a promotional message, not the standard thank you for your business, a card whose only purpose is to uplift, recognize and appreciate.
Imagine the power in this simple approach, 3 unexpected expressions of recognition and appreciation a day, means that you are making a lot of people feel special and feel really good about you. An added bonus, it's a great way to start your day and operate your business.
While I use greeting cards because it's a cost effective way of keeping my name in front of my clients, it's the thought and attitude that counts, do it however you like, but start today to make at least 3 of your contacts feel special. Try this for 90 days and I guarantee your business will never be the same.
One last point
As the title says, you should consistently add new contacts to your list. When you add a new contact, put them on your A list until they prove otherwise. Our expectations have a powerful impact on the results we achieve, if you treat everyone you meet as an advocate, you'll be amazed at how many live up to your expectations.
Question: When was the last time you segmented your list this way? When was the last time you recognized and appreciated one of your contacts? Are you getting enough referrals? Are you giving enough?
In part 3 we'll look at the value of educating your prospects, clients and contacts and how to create a stream of endless referrals.