Great Business Advice: Mind Your P’s and A’s. Part III: Promises

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In Part II of Great Business Advice we discussed the 1st P: Philosophy. In Part III we look at the 2nd P: Promises. Any company can get an order from a customer. Successful companies get repeat orders from loyal customers. And that is all about promises made and promises kept, because, to quote Robert Service’s famous poem: “A promise made is a debt unpaid.”

The most expensive part of marketing is to advertise to, attract, and get an order from a new customer. The least expensive part of marketing is to persuade a loyal customer to:

  • Place a repeat order.
  • Place repeat orders more often.
  • Place larger orders than they used to, and
  • Place an order for something else, in addition to what they normally buy.

That is where businesses find the real profit: a loyal and growing customer base. And this brings us to the promises successful businesses make to their customers and prospects.

What Do You Promise?

Walmart promises lowest prices for everyday clothing items, convenience, a good selection to choose from, and no-hassle returns if the customer changes their mind.

Savile Row Tailors in London, England, sell the world’s most exclusive clothing. A top quality Savile Row suit costs about $13,000 (but a regular one will only set you back about $4,000.) Savile Row Tailors promises something very different from Walmart. Both of these clothing suppliers know their market, they both promise what their particular market wants, and they deliver on the promise day after day. One has a philosophy of “stack it high and sell it cheap,” and the other’s philosophy is “produce the best suits in the world for the best people in the world.”

Walmart has regular suppliers of finished clothing who get paid after Walmart has sold it and has been paid, themsleves. This helps Walmart keep retail prices low (they use their suppliers as their interest-free bankers) so they can deliver on their promise. Savile Row Tailors can spend 60 man-hours making one suit of the finest material, because the best in the world is not easy to achieve.

The Takeaway

Customers know what to expect, and that is what keeps them coming back for more. Successful companies decide on their marketplace. They design their philosophy to satisfy their marketplace. They tell their marketplace what they promise. They train their employees to understand the promise, and to deliver on it. Successful companies then measure how well their employees deliver on the promise. Their customers know what they are being promised, they want it, they expect it, and they keep coming back for more. In Part IV we discuss the 3rd P: People. People deliver on the company’s promise.

Aaron Ferguson

Written by Aaron Ferguson

Director of Business Development | A logistical chameleon with the ability to adapt to new challenges and simplify your supply chain.