Have you ever been to a business function or a cocktail party where the person with whom you’re speaking is constantly searching the room with his eyes? They’re better dealing you. They’re trying to find someone more important (or interesting) who is a better deal than you. In a business setting, it’s usually a higher-up they’d like to impress but it’s generally someone who they think can make their life better than you can. I think that sort of thing is rude. Sure, you should have a general awareness of who is in the room but I think it’s important to be “present” in any conversation you’re having. If you want to end it gracefully and move on, so be it, but don’t nod your head and mumble “uh-huh” while scanning the room.
I can hear you thinking that you’d never do that, at least not unless someone was a boring, raging drunk. As it turns out, there is evidence to suggest that many marketers are better-dealing their customers all the time instead of focusing on what the customer is saying. How do I know? This from eMarketer:
HubSpot examined marketing priorities of marketers worldwide practicing inbound strategies (next-generation techniques that foster a two-way interaction and relationship with prospects and that aim for customers to come to the brand) and outbound strategies (more traditional marketing, in which customers are sought out and reached with general, one-way messaging such as TV, print ads or cold calls). Converting contacts and leads into customers was a marketing priority for 77% of inbound marketers and 68% of outbound marketers.
Increasing revenue from current customers , on the other hand, was only a priority for 46%. This despite the fact that it’s about 5x more efficient to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one. Thinking of it another way, you would have to find five new customers to gain the same profitability as you would from retaining one. You have a 60%-70% chance of selling something to an existing customer and only a 5%-20% chance to sell to a new one. Which odds are more appealing?
You might think you’re giving yourself a better deal by focusing on the next conversation (finding new customers) but as it turns out you’re way better off devoting resources and staying focused on the current chat (your current customers). The odds are the “better deal” will still be at the party when your current conversation moves on. Make sense?