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There is a difference between these three names and the understanding of that difference can mean success or failure for a business.

I define a customer as someone that buys a   product/service once. A client is someone that comes back to purchase the same or additional products or services from you. An advocate is not only a client but takes the time to tell others about you and sends lots of referrals.

Before the customer comes the prospect. Target marketing identifies the prospects and an overall marketing program is developed to turn that prospect into a customer.

Most marketing plans that I have seen focus on the first part of the process, defining a target market and turning prospects into customers.  Seldom do I encounter a well thought out plan to turn customers into clients and then into advocates.

The term “exceeding expectations” has been often used in the delivery process of a product or service. The problem is no one has defined that term and explained how to apply it. “Exceeding expectations” means doing something that was not expected, delivering more than promised. This may help turn a customer into a client, but to keep that client coming back and turning that client into an advocate means doing something more.

That “something more” is providing a better service than the time before as well as further exceeding their expectations by your actions. The development of a relationship with a client is needed to have them achieve the advocate status. A relationship means a commitment, a commitment to do more than a client can reasonably expect.

Businesses that have implemented  a marketing plan for customers and have succeeded in moving them up into the client and advocate category may find that over 80% of their business originates from this group. This “secondary marketing plan” takes time to develop and implement and must constantly be updated. Monthly reviews and new innovations in the area of customer care and loyalty-building is critical to the long term success and growth of a business.

Our process from “prospect to advocate” takes a full day to put together and develop the integrations necessary for a particular type of business.  Monthly “adjustment meetings” usually take 2 to 3 hours, but they are one of the most important parts of an overall business marketing program.

In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm; in the  real world all rests on perseverance.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Nick J. Petra CFP   Are you committed to building a sustainable and profitable business? If the answer is yes, join today.


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