Entrepreneur - - By Andrew Neitlich

The Tale of Two Service Providers

Two service providers come every six months or so to help us out at home. One washes our windows. The other pressure cleans our pool deck. Both cost the same, and both do good work.

But I am loyal to one company for the window washing, and not loyal to the company for pressure cleaning. Sometimes I use different vendors for pressure cleaning, but I use the same vendor for window washing.

What’s the difference between the two?

Relationship marketing. The window washer calls me every six months and says, “It is time to wash your windows. And, since you are a loyal customer, we have a special price of 15% off for you. When should we come?”

The pressure washer never calls, even though we need pressure washing as often as window washing. And when I call the usual company, they tend to return calls slowly, and never seem to remember who I am. So often, I call other vendors to get my pool deck cleaned in time for company.

What’s this have to do with you?

Two things:

1. I hope you stay in close touch with your customers and follow up with them on a regular schedule with special offers, or to anticipate their ongoing needs.

2. The above tale is based on a famous Wall Street Journal direct marketing piece, one of the most famous and successful in the history of direct mail. Called “A Tale of Two Business Owners,” it explained that the only difference between two business owners was that one subscribed to the Journal and the other didn’t. Of course, the subscriber was way more successful in his business. The moral: Subscribe to the Journal! It’s a great approach in copy writing, and an approach many of my clients use in their marketing letters with great results.

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