Only a Few of Anything REALLY Matter

Whether you are a business owner or salesperson trying to please your customers, a comedian attempting to win over a tough crowd, or a politician trying to win votes, it is an entirely NATURAL human desire to want to pay attention to/focus on (and try to please) EVERYONE.

Today’s business tip is inspired by the notion that LESS IS MORE or:

“You can make ALL of the people happy SOME of the time and SOME of the people happy ALL the time, but you can’t make ALL of the people happy ALL of the time.”

Need proof? Let’s go back a 100 years…

Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who studied the income distribution of citizens in Switzerland around 1900.

He found that a relatively small percent of the population controlled most of the countries’ wealth (sound familiar, fellow Americans?)

During the 1940s an American named Dr. Joseph Juran expanded upon the work done by Pareto, by studying significant numbers of data from many different industries and case studies. He found that a relatively small number (20%) of the total were always critical, and a majority of the data (80%) was relatively unimportant.

Dr. Juran discovered that this mathematical formula had nearly universal application. So, what that means is the Pareto Principal dictates that:

* 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of you sales, revenues, and profits.

Looked at another way, if you were to categorize your customers in terms of their loyalty to your offering and satisfaction with you, nearly 75% can be defined as “mercenaries.” While they have high satisfaction with (they purchase) your products and services, they have little loyalty to you and will leave you in a heart beat if they find a cheaper price, newer model, etc.

A much smaller segment (no more than 20%) of your customers can be considered loyalists. They are highly loyal to and satisfied with you. NO MORE THAN A PALTRY 5% can be considered “raving fans” or “apostles.”

A raving fan is a customer that sticks with you through thick and thin. They are 100% loyal to you and thrilled with your brand. They tell anyone and EVERYONE they know about you and they provide you with a constant pipeline of referrals.

They are the “unpaid sales reps” of your business who behave like Loyalists BUT they also provide you with much needed input/criticism that helps you to continuously improve your offerings.

The challenge we face is create an action plan to find apostles in your customer base. You do this by moving your customers up the three step sales ladder from prospect to Raving Fan/Apostle. You initially have to convert them during the first step from a prospect into a customer. During the second stage, you migrate them to the more lofty status of repeat customer. At the highest level of customer engagement, you need to convert them from a repeat customer into a raving fan.

Conduct a needs assessment for your top non-apostle accounts, convince those clients to embrace/accept/implement your recommendations, and review their plan with them every 3-4 months. It will help you to write down the names of a few of your apostles. Think about those relationships. What did it take to convert them from repeat customers? What does it take to maintain a “raving fan” relationship with them? Which existing clients will you target to convert this year?

Start now! It takes time and special nurturing. Remember that less is more, and a handful of clients hold the key to your future success.