Back to the Future

I’ve just got to share this story with you. Last week, on an almost dormant WhatsApp group that we’d set up for the delegates at BlueSky Seattle three months ago, I was asked where the 2020 BlueSky event will be held.

Coincidentally, just two days earlier, Josh Phegan and I had confirmed to each other that we would hold the fifth BlueSky event in New York City between April 14-17 2020. I replied with the information and then something extraordinary happened.

Within two days, eleven of the previous attendees at BlueSky had confirmed they would be coming to New York, (there are only 15 places for UK agents/suppliers). Two have already bought flights. We haven’t confirmed the itinerary, which companies we will be visiting, who the speakers are – just the dates and the location. What does this tell me and what can you learn from it?

  1. When you deliver value to your clients you gain the dividend of trust and loyalty.
  2. Your current and past clients are far more likely to trust you than new ones.
  3. Sometimes the most basic marketing, (it doesn’t get any simpler or cheaper than a WhatsApp message), can have a far greater impact than a lavish multimedia campaign.

I’ve repeatedly made the point that the number one source of new business resides in your database. I’ve seen so many examples of this that I cannot understand why most people don’t get it and still spend disproportionately on attracting new customers. But the database is just a tool, in itself it’s not the answer. The key is what you actually communicate with your current and past customers and in this respect there are two rules I subscribe to:

  1. The message and content must be relevant. The more it applies to the recipient, the more personal it is, the more it addresses their needs or desires, the more likely it is to have an impact and in turn a result.
  2. Ideally, it should be remarkable too. This isn’t always possible, sometimes it’s just “information” but then again, with a bit of effort perhaps something quite ordinary can be made remarkable.

To make a communication remarkable consider applying one or more of Professor Robert Cialdini’s principles:

  1. Is it authoritative – is it information that’s coming from an expert?
  2. Is it scarce, will the recipient be among the first to know?
  3. Does it have an unconditional offer?
  4. Is it the start of something worthwhile to be built on?
  5. Is it something the recipient will like?
  6. Is it something that others would like too (and hence ramping up its appeal)?

The right message to the right people at the right time – easy to say and understand, harder to deliver, but so worthwhile when you get it right.

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