I wrote some of this to my individual (non-business) contacts, but I wanted to share with you as well …

I think there are two components to our shared reaction about the events in Paris on Friday. On one hand, we have the grief

Seeing those gruesome images, imagining the regular families whose lives have been forever upended … it’s all so immeasurably sad. And what makes it worse, I think, is wondering what we are to do in response. Our lives feel so removed from the devastation … Here I am seeing images of horror and agony — there I am grabbing a caramel latte with a double shot of espresso.

So, we pray. We perhaps change our Facebook profile picture as a point of remembrance (and despite what the voices of cynicism may say, there is great value in even the smallest acts of solidarite). And we honor the fallen.

And then, on the other hand … we have the fear.

And fear can lead many of us to all kinds of weird places. Whether private anxiety, social anger, even a form of seeming xenophobia … all of these are probably normal in the face of terror such as this.

But we must remember that WE are the primary target of such terror. Our hearts. Our family’s hearts. (Certainly I don’t mean to imply that the actual victims are mere ornaments to this story … but only that the murders were, indeed, a message). The hearts of our leaders.

We must pray for them all — and remember that national policy, whether military or otherwise, is a separate question from our own response. We have the luxury of choosing love — as well as hope — in the face of such terror. Our leaders (and France’s), unfortunately, may not have that luxury in the same way.

So let’s remember to carry our own hearts well this week, shall we?

And though it’s rather jarring to transition from this topic, the plain fact is that onward we must go. I had been planning to write to you about customer behavior this week. And so I will…

Kessler’s 7 Things You Must Know About Your Existing Customers
“Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” – Zig Ziglar

I’ve written before about the most important pieces of information you should know about your target prospects — but what if you applied that kind of thinking to your existing customers?

You see, they’ve already signaled their interest in your products or services by giving you their business. And, that makes your list of them the most valuable list you can maintain in your business.

It’s even better, if you’ve got a bead on the following 7 pieces of information…

1. Their Name – Nothing speaks to an individual faster than their first name. Use it to build your relationship with your customer. I’m continually shocked to find out how few business owners have a system in place to capture this information. If you don’t–get on that now!

2. What They’ve Purchased – If you know what your customers purchased in the past, you have a good idea what they will buy again. (And you won’t waste your time promoting products of little to no interest to them, or to others.)

3. How Often They Purchase – Individuals who buy rarely from you may need additional encouragement–more marketing. Whereas, consistent customers may not need extra sales pitches, but might benefit from a newsletter or coupon.

4. How Much They Spend (On Average) – Why spend precious time pitching products to customers which they can’t afford? It might embarrass your customer, shows your lack of personal interest, and may cause customers to lose interest.

5. The Last Time They Purchased – Have you lost a customer without even knowing it? Who’s still loyal? Who has strayed (and needs to be brought back)?

6. Each Interaction You’ve Had With Them – Documentation is important for obvious reasons. But being able to “recall” previous conversations will make your customer feel important and appreciated.

7. How They Feel About Your Business – Feedback from your existing customers is the best way to improve your products/services, meet your customers’ needs, and attract more customers.

Obviously, just “remembering” this information is well nigh impossible. Which is why you should seriously consider investing in a “CRM” (Customer Relationship Manager) program — and using it. There’s plenty of good ones out there. Let me know if you’d like a recommendation.

And remember — my team and I are here for you, to help in any way we can.

Feel very free to share this article with a Long Island and Stamford business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance — or simply send them our way? These particular articles usually relate to business strategy because, as you know, we are Proftbility Consultants also specializing in tax preparation and planning for Long Island and Stamford families and business owners. And we always make room for referrals from trusted sources like you.

Warmly (and until next week),

Michael J. Kessler, CPA
(516) 449-2852
(203) 658-5092

PS–Join us for our show Business Profits In The Real World Saturday afternoons at 4 on 103.9FM WRCN where we bring you Long Island and The New York-Metro’s most successful business owners sharing how you too can bring your business to among the most profitable in your industry.  No radio? No problem! Listen live at LINewsRadio.com – or can’t listen live?  Hear our past shows at MichaelKesslerCPA.com