No matter what type of business you operate, the customer matters the most. The thing is, not all customers are ‘buying’ customers. Your employees, suppliers and related service people are your customers too- I think of them as the ‘buy-in’ customers. And let's face it, they are the ones that keep your buying customers coming back for more. What are you doing to keep these VIP's engaged?
- Acknowledge Your Buy-In Customers
Buy-in customers are a very real and very important part of business; acknowledge this fact. The buy-in of your employees and supporters is as much a part of business success as the products and services you sell. It doesn’t hurt to look at each of these folks as business partners. Without them, you are in business alone, if you are in business at all.
- Treat Your Buy-In Customers as if They Are Buying Customers
You don’t think twice about working hard to make your buying customers happy; it takes planning and it's something you do all the time. Why not include your buy-in customers in the planning process? Whether it's incentives, recognition, courtesy or whatever, if it works for the buying customers adapt it to fit your’ buy-in customers as well.
- Create a Continuous Buy-In-Customer Maintenance Plan
Preventive maintenance versus as-needed maintenance; you’ve done the comparison and you have learned that over time prevention is less costly, less intrusive and vastly more productive. Supporting the intellect, integrity and enthusiasm of your’ buy-in customers is more than incentives, recognition and courtesy. It's about giving them an opportunity to share in the triumphs and challenges the business faces; an opportunity to maximize their own potential. Institute a plan, which encourages your’ buy-in customers to share their ideas, to challenge perceived weaknesses and to make the business greater than it is. Investing in the intellect, integrity and enthusiasm of these folks will reap lasting rewards for all.
Your’ customers come in a variety of forms. You must continue to put your best forward in an effort to attract, maintain and most important of all, to sell to your buying customers. At the same time, don’t forget your’ buy-in customers and how valuable they are to the bottom line; you might just say, they are the bottom line.