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Are you attracting ‘raving fans’ to your business?

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Nic DeCaire

Nic DeCaire
Guest Columnist

Author and management expert Ken Blanchard defines a “raving fan” as a customer who is so satisfied they are willing to go out of their way to tell someone else about their experience.

Sounds like every customer you have, right? Yeah, mine, too.

If you own a small business, raving fans are better than any advertisement you can purchase. These people love your product or service enough to tell anyone willing to listen. Best of all, they do it for free.

The only cost of having these raving fans is a good product and great service. If you don’t have that you might want to rethink your business plan.

Four years ago, I took a hard look at what I was spending in advertising. It was pretty scary for a business of my size. Our industry average suggests about 10 to 20 percent of gross revenue should be spent on marketing and advertising.  I was spending around 15 percent.

I asked myself if the money I spent justified how many raving fans I had. The answer was no.

Some of the advertisements brought in new members that we turned into raving fans, but that percentage was low. The majority of customers responding to our ads were just looking for the next best deal.

With a lot of thought and consulting, I decided to cut my advertising budget by 80 percent. (Note: this was me personally and I do not recommend the kind of cut for everyone.) Instead, I focused my efforts on creating raving fans with my current customer base.

Some people might think this approach is crazy, but I knew if I wanted to survive in this industry I was better off spending that money on the people who already support me and believe in my product.

It worked. Since then, I have increased my business every year by a minimum of 8 to 10 percent.

So, how do you create this kind of rabid customer? It takes work, commitment, attention to detail and ethics. But if you are reading this publication I’m sure you already have these values.

Here are some tips I have used to successfully create raving fans and generate more business.

Identify your top 20 percent – These are the people who spend the most money in your business in a given year. You can bet that if they have money to spend, so do the people they hang out with. Like attracts like. Focus time and attention on these customers.

Show you care – We are all in the business of making money, but you also have to show that you care. And mean it.

If you are always trying to sell your customers they will eventually shut down and stop spending money. The money will come as long as you are doing your job. Always make suggestions based on what the customer needs. Don’t sell them just to hit monthly goals.

Create an experience – When it comes to creating an experience, Disney does it best. My daughter talks about Disney World at least twice a week and she’s only been there once. She is a raving fan.

You want customers to have an experience from the time they walk in the door until they leave. They should be greeted in a warm and friendly way. They should get help without asking. A smile and a “thank you” should be the last thing they remember when they walk out the door. Make them feel special and they will want to come back.

Some of the proudest moments I’ve had in business so far are when I’m out and I meet someone new. When they tell me they already know about Fusion through a friend who is a member and has told them how much they enjoy

our facility, I know we have created another raving fan.

We’ve done our job.

Nic DeCaire is member of 2014 DBT40 class and owner of Fusion Fitness.

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