As markets continue to shrink, a hot topic for sales executives is how to retain current customers. The accepted rule in selling is that keeping current customers is cheaper than devoting precious resources to finding new customers. Acquiring new customers costs an estimated five to eight times more than it does to retain existing customers. The challenge is how to do this well.
Millward Brown, a leading marketing research and consulting company, provides important insights into this issue with its Brand Pyramid concept. According to Millward Brown, there are five stages in a customer’s decision process to select product or services. Each level requires a separate and unique message by the sales person. The five levels are from lowest to highest:
Level 1. Presence. At this level, customers are aware of your product or services, but they have no emotional attachment to them.
Level 2. Relevance. At this point, customers begin to think about whether your company and your originator meets their needs and wants. What is the value of your product and services vs. the customer’s needs?
Level 3. Performance. At this level, customers start to look at other vendors and compare. They start to put a short list together.
Level 4. Advantage. Your brand is perceived by customers to have an advantage. Customers start to attach their emotions to a specific product or service.
Level 5. Bonding. Here, customers have established a bond with the originator’s brand. They\’ve determined that cost, advantage, and performance are all at levels that they\’re happy with.
At this point, customers have formed a strong emotional attachment to the brand; the brand has become an integral part of their self-image, and helps represent who they are. This, in turn, encourages them to exclude other brands in favor of this one.
What levels are your originators selling at? Give me a call to discuss how to improve their performance.