“Welcome Gauntlet”

Every business consultant these days talks about developing “relationships” with customers. They say, quite correctly, that this will lead to more sales, fewer problems, and greater profits.

When you get a new customer, you have the potential to double or triple his lifetime value. By lifetime value, I mean the net dollars he will eventually send you. It starts with the very first experiences the customer has with you. These experiences are crucial. They make an impression that will last forever.

My colleague Dan Kennedy encourages his clients to send what he calls a “stick letter” to new customers. A good stick letter, Kennedy says, reduces refunds by restating the promises and benefits made in the sales letter and then giving them a bonus.

But I think you should do more than that. My recommendation is to create a “welcome gauntlet” – a series of communications that go beyond delivering what the customer is expecting.

A welcome gauntlet should be so good that it not only satisfies the customer, it surprises and delights him. By doing that, you are showing him how much you care about him… and laying the foundation for a strong, mutually beneficial relationship.

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