Today’s business-to-business, products and services, dealer/distributor can unfortunately by seen by many as simply a commodity—easily replaced by another. If you allow your customers to have that perception of you, it is your own fault. But why might so many people think you are simply a commodity? It is because you have not provided any value to your clients beyond that which your competitor delivers. It’s time for your creativity to kick in. It is time to do something different.
One twist to make a huge difference in their perception of you is to deliver fresh business to their doorstep. You might be wondering what in the world you can do to generate leads for your clientele? It is called cross-pollination, and it will work for you, and your clients.
Contact a few of your current clients and suggest this cross-pollination idea—an idea of client base sharing—you act as the intermediary. Select clients that see the world as more than a zero-sum game. Select people that understand the value of partnering to create more. Another words, don’t try this with losers.
Current clients give you a list of their customers; for discussion, let’s say a list of 500 names, addresses and e-mails (best in a Microsoft Ecxel file). In turn, for sharing that list with the “cooperative,” you give them 1,000 new names in return. Where did you get the 1,000 names? You get them from other current clients that are also willing to participate.
Just to make it simple, let’s say that 10 of your customers each gave you a list of 500 names, that is a total of 5,000 names. Your job, and the unique value you deliver would be to give each of those 10 clients back, a list of 1,000 names. The names would come from others that are also current clients that do not compete directly with one another and have a customer base with similar needs.
An example might be an insurance company client getting 1,000 names that came from both a title company (500 names) and a real estate company (500 names). The insurance company definitely does not compete with the title company or the real estate company but the end users of the title company’s and real estate company’s services most likely have a need for insurance. This way, everybody wins—it’s cross-pollination.
This idea is a bit of work for you, but will deliver loyalty from your customers for being smart enough to put this idea into action. Each of the 10 participating clients will get a fresh list of prospects and leads for their contribution to the “cross-pollination cooperative.”
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
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