Julie Guest Direct Response Copywriter, Marketing Strategist, Best Selling Author

Lost Customers

Time to Go... When Firing a Client Can Be the Kindest Thing to Do

You might have heard of people say “The customer is always right,” and “Whatever the customer wants you should do.” Now, I am the first person to tell you that providing exceptional customer support in your business is a necessity – serving clients is the ONLY reason any of us are in business.  And it’s an honor and privilege I certainly don’t take lightly – I’m sure you don’t either.

But unfortunately, not all clients are made equal.  Some people have a PhD in complaining.  Others just decide to perpetually get out of bed on the wrong side every morning.  None of this happens to have anything to do with you.  Some clients think because they’re paying you for a specific product or service that they actually own you – and have the right to treat you as they want… calling you all hours of the day and night, beating you up on price, changing the project specs on a whim with no advance warning, paying late, or in some instances not even paying you at all.

This doesn’t have anything to do with customer service.  This is what I call ABC – Abuse By Client.

One of the worst ABC cases I’ve experienced was with a financial advisor who had very a high-end clientele in a posh part of town.

Over the years, he had managed to build a very successful business for himself, especially during the housing boom.  But when the economy turned – as happened for many, his business dropped off substantially and the old way of attracting clients wasn’t working for him anymore.

In fact by the time he’d come to me for help with his marketing, he hadn’t had a new client in more than 2 years!  You could say this guy needed my urgent attention!

When I look back on the whole experience I realized that this client had been waving some bright red flags from the very first consult.  But I had felt a deep empathy for his situation and really wanted to help him.

That was Lesson Number One.  When entering into a new business relationship – always, always listen to your intuition.  If something doesn’t feel quite right then, at the very least, buy yourself some time to think things through before leaping headfirst into a decision you’ll surely regret.

After the initial consult, I spent a full day at his office doing an in-depth diagnostic and prescriptive consultation with him.

This is a critical, very deep dive where I overturn every aspect of a client’s existing business to see where the big hidden opportunities and low hanging fruit are.  Except, not in this case.

Instead of letting me do the work he was paying me for, for the first half of the day all he did was talk about himself and his idea of how marketing should be (remember, this is a guy who hasn’t been able to get himself a new client in more than 2 years).

That was Lesson Number Two.  If someone is looking to hire you for your services, but then turns around and tells you how they think you should do your job – run – don’t walk – away from that relationship.

You’re probably thinking I was out of there by now, right?  Wrong.  I kept on… thinking this was a “nice guy” who clearly really needed my help. He had the money to pay me... surely that was enough..

What gave me an ice cold bucket of reality was when it came to agreeing the details of our future working relationship.  Suddenly, this nice and somewhat talkative guy became a tyrant.  Wow, was I wrong! He made it perfectly clear that as he was going to be paying me a substantial sum of money (more than double what my currently monthly earnings were at the time), that he “owned” me.  He also made it clear there was only one way of doing things – his way.  And then he proceeded to beat me up over the head on price trying to extract every possible concession from me.

I began to lose sleep over the relationship.  Every time he emailed me or called I would feel sick to my stomach.

That in itself is a massive warning sign that a client needs to go.

So I ended up withdrawing from the relationship.  It was hard to do because I was walking away from a substantial amount of money and I didn’t have a whole lot else sitting in my pipeline.

But I realized the personal toll the relationship was taking on me wasn’t worth any amount of money.  And I wasn’t being fair to my other clients because this guy was sucking the life out of me.

Having the guts to fire that client was one of the hardest and the best decisions I ever made. It gave me a real sense of freedom and empowerment that I really did have the power to choose who I did business with.

The day you stand up for yourself in your business and say “No – this isn’t how I want to be treated.  No your behavior isn’t acceptable and no you’re not the kind of client I want to do business with” – is the day you’ve achieved massive success in your business.

It’s a fantastic feeling.

Saying “no” to the wrong kind of client also means you can say “yes” to the right kind. Not long after that difficult experience, I attracted one of my most favorite clients (we’re still working together today).  If I had worked with the other gentleman I would have never have had the capacity to work with my dream client and that opportunity would have flown right by.

7 Easy Steps To Writing A Darn Good Sales Letter

You've gotta love the power of a great sales letter.  It's THE best leverage of your time and is like having your very own army-sized sales force, pounding the pavements for you, perfectly delivering your marketing message every time for less than a cup of coffee.  They never call in sick, never go on vacation, never ask for a pay raise and they'll work tirelessly around the clock for you 24/7, 365 days of the year. So here are 7 expert secrets to writing an extremely effective sales letter.

Secret #1  Create an attention driven headline that specifically speaks to your target market, arouses curiosity and answers the question in your prospects mind "what's in this for me?".  For example: "Using a Lawyer May Be Dangerous To Your Wealth" "For the Woman Who Looks Older Than She Is" "Former Hairdresser Earns $8000 a Month As A Real Estate Specialist" "How To Double Your Income in 60 Days Or Less"

Secret #2 Open your letter with a personalized salutation (the more PERSONAL you make your letter look and sound, the higher your response rate will be).  If you can't address it to the person directly (eg Dear John, or Dear Mrs McDonald), try using one of these salutations: Dear Friend Dear Neighbor Dear Fellow _______er <i.e. Golfer> Dear Colleague, Dear Reader Dear Frustrated Tax Payer Dear Valued Customer

Secret #3 Use a powerful "letter opener".  The first couple of sentences of your sales letter have to be really compelling to "hook" your prospects and get them to read the rest of the letter.  Consider these: Here’s you chance to... In looking over our records I noticed that you... Will do me a favor? Will you try this experiment? Here’s an amazing opportunity! I’m writing to.. Congratulations! Could you use an extra $500 a week? Frankly,I’m puzzled... I couldn’t wait to write to you.

Secret #4: Talk about Benefits, NOT just features in your sales copy.  Understanding the difference between benefits and features is critical for the success of your sales letter.  A feature is fact driven, a benefit is more of an emotional connection.  This difference is extremely important because people BUY ON EMOTION, THEN JUSTIFY WITH LOGIC!!!  For example a feature is this drill has 27 different drill speeds.  The benefit is that you can get your work done in half the time which means you get to spend more time relaxing on the couch, watching your favorite sport.

Secret #5 Use Subheadings, bold font, itallics, and underlining to create a "double readership path" Everyone reads sales letters differently.  Some people will read every word, others will skim read every paragraph, and still others will just read the headline, the opening paragraph and then maybe the PS at the end of the letter.  That's why you need to make sure the most persuasive and important messages in your sales letter are made to jump out at the reader and create a "double readership path"..

Secret #6 Make sure your sales letter contains an irresistible offer and a deadline to respond by (remember this offer should be bold, it should be different to anything your competition offers, and compelling enough to light your prospects' pants on fire).  Here are some examples of irresistible offers:

  1. FREE with absolutely no strings attached
  2. Free trial converts to monthly billing or payment of product after X days – (Pay nothing now)
  3. Free Shipping
  4. Hold your check
  5. Bonus overload – stacked bonuses
  6. Early bird bonus tied to a specific response date
  7. Silly premium – mousepad, cartoon, t-shirt, coffee mug
  8. Mystery gift
  9. Easy pay options (monthly payments)
  10. The more you buy the more you save – tiered discount based on amount purchased

Secret # 6 Include a bold reverse risk guarantee.  This is a very powerful copywriting technique to make it easier for your prospects to say YES than no.  Here's an example:

"You’re fully protected by our iron-clad money-back guarantee: If you decide that your <name> membership and <publication> aren’t for you, just let us know at any time during your membership period. We’ll send you a prompt 100% refund – every penny you paid. That’s a full refund, not partial or pro-rated. All the issues and the bonuses are yours to keep – even if you cancel. Could any offer be fairer than that?"

Secret #7  Use a powerful close to make your prospects whip out their credit cards

The way you close your sales letter is very important - it will determine whether your prospect puts your sales letter down to "think about it" or is moved to tale immediate action.  Here are some great examples:

"The next move is up to you. I’ve shown you that the <name of your product> is as risk-free as an offer can come. You and I both know that if you’ve read this far in the letter, you’re seriously interested in improving your business and personal income. All that’s left to do now is take action and call the number below to place your order".

"You really can’t afford not to invest in this course! Don’t you think you owe it to yourself to move on this incredible opportunity?  So what are you waiting for? Drop the enclosed card in the mail today."

That's it!  Follow these 7 simple steps and your sales letter will be MILES ahead of anything your competition is using!!!!


What to do with your customers who’ve gone MIA

Guess the top 4 reasons customers don’t return to a business (hint: price isn’t one of them). #4 Bad service #3 Bad product #2 They found someone else

And #1 They FORGOT!

That’s right, the number 1 reason people don’t return to your business is because you just weren’t top of mind when it was time for them to purchase again.  Are you shocked that price doesn’t even feature in the top 4 reasons?  Most of us automatically think that if customers don’t return it must have been because we were too expensive, when actually it’s just because we didn’t do a great job with our marketing by reminding them that we’re here.  The great news is that it can be easily fixed!

Here are 2 key questions for you:

In your business how often do you want customers to buy from you again?

When do you consider a customer to be lost?

If you’re a real estate agent, you might want repeat business every 5 years.  If you own a grocery store it might be once every 7 days.  Figure this out and then set up a lost customer sequence to trigger as soon as they don’t return. The most effective is a 3-step sequential direct mail campaign that’s highly personalized. A very distant second is the same via email campaign (but anything is better than nothing).

Here’s the secret to getting them back: unless you specifically invite your lost customers to return to you, most won’t because they’re too embarrassed!  You need to warmly invite them back.  Remember that a customer who’s already done business with you is at least 5 times easier for you to sell to than a new customer.  So make every customer count! Woo the lost sheep back with an irresistible offer and a deadline. Make them feel they’ve been greatly missed and welcome them back to the fold with open arms! If they don’t respond to the first campaign, schedule another in 3 months with a different offer!