I’ve been in sales for almost three decades. Because of this tenure, I’ve sold to many companies, all of which have earned my respect and also my devotion for my consumer dollars. To be honest, I’m also a bit vindictive. There are some companies that have never bought from me, and I consequently avoid their products. I don’t think this is bad—I simply buy from my friends. Don’t you?
Satisfied Customer or Friend?
In this competitive world, the price of an individual product is probably not very different between one vendor or another. Rather, the important thing is the service, support, and knowledge that I’m helping a friend or friend’s company. I won’t pay 25% more for a product or service, but I won’t necessarily shop around if I know that my friend is selling a product or service that I need.
I think that most people are the same way. It’s your job as a business leader to make sure that your customers are your friends. By having a relationship with your customers you ensure that they come back to you. It’s pretty expensive to acquire a new customer, so it’s good business sense to be friendly and helpful to the people who have started to develop a relationship with you. These satisified consumers (a.k.a. your friends) are your best chance at continued and sustained revenue.
Friends Buy from Friends
Developing a relationship is nearly impossible without tracking the information about your customers. If you are a Global 2000 company, you have too many customers to try to remember in a spreadsheet or with your personal memory. Instead, you need an encyclopedia of information on each and every one of your customers. This customer encyclopedia is then referenced by every system that interacts with your customer. This loose coupling and the reuse of data allows you to create the best possible relationship and friendship with your customer. Master Data Management (MDM) is the holding repository of this encyclopedia of information. MDM is the key for a successful and friendly relationship with your customer.
Friends buy from friends; people buy from people. Allow MDM to make your company a “friendly person” in your customers’ lives.