I was reading an article recently by Perry Marshall where he said “I don’t chase customers anymore, I let them chase me”. (Or something along those lines. My apologies to Perry if I have misquoted.)
This concept (of being chased by rather than chasing a potential customer) resonated with me. I hear and read an awful lot about it these days. Many marketers say it’s the 21st century way to sell. The dynamics of the buyer – seller relationship has shifted and this is one of the outcomes.
As I was reviewing our sales for last month. I did a quick calculation of where our new business for the month came from. I found that 79% of our new business could be traced back to the customer calling us rather than us calling the customer.
In other words, almost 80% of our new business chased us last month while we chased about 20%. And, as I look at our customers over the past three years, this ratio is pretty consistent.
What amazes me is that our service is one that typically is sold almost completely by salespeople knocking on doors (chasing the customers).
Unfortunately this leads me to more questions than conclusions.
However one conclusion I have is that Perry and the others are right. Buyers are doing more chasing than ever before. which means (I think) they are less responsive to being chased. It means they prefer to have more control over the entire buying process than in the past.
And, it’s good for us that they do want more control. It means they’re more invested in the process of buying what we’re selling. It means they place a higher priority on it. It also means we can do business differently. It means we can enter into higher value relationships that are more information-rich and more service-rich than ever before.
As we think about how to promote our local businesses, we need to keep this in mind. Do we want to chase, or be chased? They are different goals and they need to be handled in different ways.