Russell Conwell was a man of many talents. Over the course of his career, he worked as a Baptist minister, writer, philanthropist and lawyer. But he became most famous for a speech he would come to perform more than 6,000 times.
That speech was “Acres of Diamonds,” and it tells the story of an ambitious man who hungered to find the famously precious gems. To finance his search, he sold his property — but experienced an ironic twist when the new owner discovered a rich diamond mine located right on the very property the diamond hunter sold. The lesson of this story is that the opportunity for fortune already exists in our current circumstances.
If you own a business, then you have a rich vein of “diamonds” that you can mine: your existing customers.
Making more money with joint ventures
In my book, “The Predictable Profits Playbook,” I explain how I was able to build a highly lucrative real estate development business by leveraging joint-venture partnerships. Many real estate developers sell a house and move right along to the next customer. Instead, I looked for all the advantages that my customers wanted, and then made arrangements with businesses that could provide them. This included furniture stores, alarm companies, driveway seal coating and luxury lighting suppliers (among others). I introduced the customer to the vendor and subsequently took a commission on the deal.
The customers were happy because they received preferential pricing and didn’t have to spend a lot of time looking around for a supplier, and the vendors were happy to make a sale that they otherwise wouldn’t have made — triple win-win-win. No matter the industry, your customer has additional needs that a third party vendor can and will provide.
Make a list of the additional services your customers may need and which vendors could provide them. Build relationships with these third party vendors so you can offer better pricing to your clients, and reap the benefits of creating a valuable a new connection between them.
Following up after a sale
When a customer chooses to do business with you, it’s usually the culmination of all the work you’ve already done to convince them you are a trusted authority in your industry. Considering the time, money and energy you’ve already put into acquiring that customer, it’s strange that many businesses fail to follow up with other offers after making a sale.
To follow up with your existing customers, make sure you have a system in place to obtain their contact information. This could be their email address, phone number or physical address. You could a use a newsletter or a loyalty club as an incentive for the customer to provide you with this information or simply ask to collect it as you complete your first transaction with the customer.
Once you have their contact information, you will be able to follow up with additional offers to then provide even more value for your customer and help move them closer to the ultimate result they want to achieve.
Winning back your “lost” customers
Author and marketing strategist Jay Abraham points out that, “over 80 percent of lost customers didn’t leave for an irreparable reason.” He means that the reason customers stop buying isn’t that they hate you or your business. Usually, it’s simply a matter of other things getting in the way.
It often doesn’t take much more than a reminder to get the “disengaged” customer to do business with you again. If you run an auto shop, you could send out a postcard with a discount for servicing. A dentist could remind their customer to drop in for their six-month cleaning, and a lawn maintenance company could send reminders that it’s time for their yard to be cleaned up. Because past customers know what to expect (and can trust you to deliver), it’s typically much easier to win them back than to acquire a customer who has never done business with you before.
Make sure that you have a system in place for winning back these lost customers.
“Acres of Diamonds” was first published in 1890, but its lesson is as relevant today as it was then. There really are riches beneath our feet if we’re willing to look for them.