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Should you look for new customers, or keep existing customers happy?

OK, here's a question for you: Should you look for new customers, or keep existing customers happy? This doesn't really seem like an either/or question. It seems as though a healthy, thriving company is a company that looks for new customers and keeps existing customers happy at the same time. Think about it. The one goes along with the other. If you're thinking either/or in this situation, your company will tumble down in ruins in no time at all.
So, what we've got to do is figure out how to (a) look for new customers, while (b) keeping existing customers happy, satisfied, and convinced that you're doing your best for them. Let's look at some ideas for (a) first.

- Looking for new customers implies that you already have some old ones. What did you do to bring them into the fold? How did you find those customers? What marketing plan did you choose to attract them to you in the first place? Chances are that what worked before will work again. A healthy company, of course, is always thinking of ways to improve, is always seeking a new outlook or approach to finding and keeping customers. But the fact that you're looking for new ones means you've done something right already.
- Looking for new customers means looking in places you haven't looked before. Looking for new customers means using methods you haven't used before. The world is connected more tightly now than at any time in history. People join other people via the internet according to their interests, hobbies, politics, religious beliefs, game preferences, favorite movie stars, and so forth. Chances are there's a huge community of folks that are already in communication about the very service your company provides. You've got to look for them. You've got to seek them out. Let's say that your company provides a special kind of gardening soil. Let's say you've used newspapers, magazines, even television to advertise your product. But you've never used the Internet. Well, just type the word "gardening" into any search engine and you'll quickly discover a quick, effective way to find thousands and thousands of new customers. Now, let's think about (b).
- Surely you're a customer yourself. Surely you buy groceries somewhere, movies somewhere, clothing somewhere, etc. What keeps you happy? What keeps you especially devoted to a particular provider of a particular product? Ask yourself those questions, and apply the answers to your company. What keeps you happy will keep your customers happy. Customers are happy when a company provides a few basic things. Customers are happy when a company seems to be constantly on the lookout for improvement. Customers are happy when a company shows expertise, real thought, real learning, about their unique needs. If you're providing a special gardening soil, you've got to be right where the best research regarding gardening is happening. If your customers feel that you know about new advances before even they do, they'll feel secure about staying with you and continuing to use your product.
- Customers are happy when they're listened to. Listen to your customers. The Internet is a great tool for opening up a conversation between you and your customers. The Internet is a great tool for discovering what makes your customers happy, what angers them, what frustrates them, what delights them. If once a customer feels that he's actually been listened to, that his needs have been heard and actually met, he's yours for life. Let these ideas get you started down the path to keeping existing customers happy and looking for new customers at the same time.

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