The Coast News Group
If you’re sending a new business pitch to someone you’re already working with, you’re also sending a bad message. Stock image
Ask Mr. MarketingColumns

Don’t annoy your existing customers

After moving to San Diego in 2002, I met Marie at a networking group. She quickly became our Farmers Insurance agent.

For two decades she worked hard for us, and we stayed loyal until she retired.

Farmers isn’t the cheapest company for insuring cars and homes, but we stayed because of Marie. With individual agents having nothing to do with the rates we paid, her proximity, personality, knowledge and friendship all became the added values that kept us around.

Now the folks at headquarters obviously know I’m Marie’s longtime customer.

So imagine my surprise when a Burbank-based Farmers agent hustled me for business. I have no relationship with this woman from 100-plus miles away, and she obviously just bought a mailing list.

My question: Why didn’t Farmers wave her away from my mailbox, filtering out my name as a current policyholder?

Certainly, if the mailer was from Geico or another firm, I’d understand them prospecting with me. But given my 20-year history with Farmers, someone in the marketing department should be screening out existing customers from any prospect list their agents are using.

Because I don’t know about you, but I get annoyed when solicitations arrive from companies I’m already doing business with. To me it indicates laziness or a deaf ear. It suggests they don’t know I’m their customer and chips away at some of that goodwill they’ve previously banked with me.

And by not filtering out my name, someone in the Farmers hierarchy needlessly annoyed me. It’s not a deal-breaker, but I’m not feeling as warm and fuzzy toward them as I was a week ago.

Businesses are like sharks, always moving forward lest they die. I get that. And to keep your business moving forward, you’re probably also regularly acquiring new sources of prospective customers.

Assuming this is the case, do yourself a favor and filter out anyone already doing business with your firm. Because if you’re sending a new business pitch to someone you’re already working with, you’re transmitting a message of, “There’s no relationship, and you’re just a number to us.”

And given how tough it is to get and keep customers, the last thing you want is to create a self-inflicted wound that contributes to chasing away loyal clientele.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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