I have a large wooden plaque in my office which was carved for me by a friend, Jason Garber (more about him in the P.S.), that I didn’t even realize were my words (until it was sent to me):
Jay Abraham says that it is our “moral obligation to teach it” for a little more emphasis.
This plaque above is the #1 slide of a list of 22 Ways to Overdeliver in business and marketing—a presentation I am giving at Growth Summit later this week in Denver. I hope to see many of you there.
(This event is the new “Info Summit,” formerly under GKIC and now under Magnetic Marketing).
This quote is #1 because it is the most important element of over delivery (the way I define it)—and it was on full display at the Titans Mastermind meeting last month from four of our members who did “Titan Spotlights,” sharing successes from their respective careers.
Today I’d like to give you a glimpse of one of those presentations…with the other three to follow in the coming weeks and months:
This is not about dry cleaning
Dave Coyle is not just another dry cleaner from Wichita, Kansas…he is THE dry cleaner from Wichita, garnering a 70% market share in a city of almost half a million people.
Now you would think he is able to do this based on offering the lowest price—after all, dry cleaning is a commodity and having the lowest price is the key to gaining market share with most commodities.
But he is actually one of the highest price/highest margin dry cleaning services in Wichita as well.
How does he do that?
First, he realized that in a service business like dry cleaning, if the person tasked with growing the business is the same person responsible for the operations of the business, you can’t scale.
So he freed himself up by hiring good managers and setting up fantastic systems to handle the day-to-day while he dreamed big.
Dave is a special entrepreneur who believes that everything in his business is not a revenue event but everything is a relationship event. (That would be a good quote for another plaque!) 🙂
Simply put, when customers leave you (e.g. they refund transactions) you often lose them forever; but they rarely leave you if they have a fulfilling and ongoing relationship with you that is based on trust.
That takes work however to convert all that fulfillment, relationship building and trust into revenue and profit.
He may be running dry cleaning businesses but for Dave it’s all about inclusion and meaningful connecting built into the business.
He spoke for almost an hour–but let me give you a window into this mad scientist of creating relationships—and remember, we’re talking about dry cleaning.
With acquisition, before he starts giving out free offers and “golden tickets” to anyone and everyone, he first gets prospects to raise their hand through various techniques—and then starts with the top 20% to get a profile of their fears, desires and problems.
He figured out what problems he can help solve and then came up with specific, unique benefits that are more meaningful (“what is special about his business”) than simply the products and services offered (“the commodity side of the business”).
He does some neat things in the “appreciation” stage (when they begin their relationship with him):
- A big welcome package with a gift (of course with a handwritten card or note) with compelling offers to “stick” with him (by creating a “barrier to switch” something very few commodity businesses have the creativity to do).
- An easy one for him is a personalized bag that has all the customer’s data and preferences built into the bag and the system.
- Other stick strategies include random complimentary services and special philanthropic offers.
- He told us about one philanthropic offer where he put up signs in all of his 12 stores where he offered free dry cleaning (or laundry) to anyone who had recently lost their job.
- And a similar offer to vets who had just got home or on specific holidays (Memorial Day, Veterans Day).
Even if you are not unemployed or a vet, wouldn’t you feel good if your dry cleaner were making offers like these? And as a paying customer you are contributing too.
And to keep customers for the long haul, the relationship continues past the acquisition stage and appreciation stage…when his expansion and retention strategies are all under the umbrella of “Trust.”
Most importantly, offering status and treating his best customers like VIP’s with the most exclusive offers, is built into the customer journey.
For example, his “Platinum Members” are 5% of his customer base but 40% of his revenue; and his “Gold Members” are 15% of his customers and 30% of his revenue.
That’s 70/20 (close to 80/20) but you get the idea.
This doesn’t mean you ignore the other 30% either (“Silver” and “Bronze” members)…but you have different work to do with them…and different messaging for them as well.
Dave uses handwritten notes all the time to everyone…and many other techniques that are digital and physical…but it’s never one size fits all.
That’s advanced marketing from a guy who is a student of all marketing media and claims to know little about it.
By the way, Dave’s top .5% (that’s “point 5 percent”) are his “Titanium Members” and they are spoken to and treated differently as well.
One other thing he subscribes to that is key to expansion and retention:
Treat customer service and fulfillment as marketing functions.
I’ve spoken about this many times before and it’s an entire chapter in Overdeliver.
In dry cleaning (as in any business), it’s a lot easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one.
Dave refers to this as “Reducing Friction”:
- Gather the most common complaints and address them (and solve them) quickly
- Rough edges equals opportunities: A dissatisfied customer made whole is a satisfied customer for life
- EASY problem resolution by always making the customer right and giving them more than they ever would have expected (from “Titanium” to “Bronze” to first time customers)
Dave’s Titan Spotlight was illuminating just for the fact that we learned that even in a commodity business, which is usually differentiated by the lowest price or a “laziness to switch,” you can transform that commodity business into a specialty business if you pay close attention to everything available to you.
In fact, the best way for any business considered a commodity to “clean the clock of its competition” (pun intended), is to look everywhere for those differentiators.
The #5 slide in my Growth Summit deck on “Why and how we Overdeliver in business and marketing” simply says:
Advertising opportunities are now infinite
I know that doesn’t seem like it’s a differentiator in itself…but it’s one of the many small hinges that open big doors…you have to know what those are…whether it’s your neighborhood dry cleaner or a state-of-the-art online marketer.
The brick and mortar or physical product businesses need digital solutions and the digital-only businesses need physical solutions—all of which create unique offerings in a world of the same.
P.S. I mentioned Jason Garber at the beginning of this post, the wonderful artist who has carved plaques like the one at the top (and he sent me four smaller versions of it too which I have distributed to other teachers who “did it”).
Here are two others he carved for me (and I never asked him to do any of these):
I thought “why are you doing this for me?”—and I want to share with you the heart of this artist who is also a friend.
When I emailed him a thank you for the plaques, he responded:
You see, I am always teaching people.
I have 7 kids and home-school them all. We were talking about quantum tunneling, hawking radiation, black holes, and the 15 different kinds of ice over lunch today.
Earlier today I was explaining the current draw/dump on 240/120 panel to a friend. Last night I was teaching my daughter how to safely work around the table saw and band saw.
And a couple days ago my son and I were engineering a balcony in such a way it didn’t need support posts, and calculating the tensile strength and diameter of the steel rods needed to make it safe.
To sum it all up, the phrase on the plaques meant a lot to me when I read it on your blog.
I kept a couple of the little ones for myself. 🙂
My request of you today:
If you are learning it, doing it, or did it, please teach it too.