Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Super marketer and "rethinking things" pundit Seth Godin wrote about the "best customer" yesterday in his Blog (sethgodin.typepad.com). He said in one paragraph:

"But what if you define "best customer" as the person who brings you new customers through frequent referrals, and who sticks with you through thick and thin? That customer, I think, is worth far more than what she might pay you in any one transaction. In fact, if you think of that customer as your best marketer instead, it might change everything."

My experience says he is right. However, most chess players and buyers are reluctant to give referrals. I've seldom seen anything like it, not even in magic, an intensely secretive business. Are chess players afraid to send a friend to some business such as my G&L CHESS for fear a future opponent will get a leg up on them in a future contest? Or could it possibly be that the referral might make your friend more important to G&L CHESS than you are? Or are chess buyers essentially only concerned about themselves if they are concerned about that at all?

It's a mystery to me, sort of. The excuse (reason?) some will offer is "I am just so busy." Myself and others have suggested getting rid of the TV set for a while JUST to find out how busy you really are! Once you find out that the TV provides you little time to do anything else, then you can go back and retrievc it for further watching. I know a guy today who if his TV was taken away he would be hopelessly adrift because he drones on about the most incredible TV shows he has seen in just the past week (and in excruciating and mindless detail, even recording them). I don't see how he has time to sleep. His conversations are bland to the point of my finding a derringer water pistol to take myself out!

What Am I Gonna Do?
New, fresh customers are important to any business so I will have a contest. But I have to think about the prizes (help?). Remember when you were in school and they would have an Ice Cream Social or some other benefit where the person selling the most tickets would win a Cadillac? (No, I don't remember that either.) I remember once selling 100 tickets and my results were a joke! Some other kid stood in front of a grocery store and sold like 400 tickets! It killed a lot of my enthusiasm for future endeavors because I was just blown off the map. So I will have runners up prizes too. I will have to think of appropriate prizes and timing for 2011 instead of giving a free book (such as a hardbound!) to the most worthy.

After all, you who go to chess clubs must know people. You who play correspondence chess must know people. You who run chess camps, or organize big events must know people! Right? (Secret: it's been my experience that those who run events (organizers) never let anyone in on what they do. Some years ago I wrote to many organizers around the country and never heard from any of them. I suspect, though I can't prove it, most of them are not really players, collectors, or even that interested in chess... they just have to be doing something.)

So, REFERRALS are my next thought, starting today. I will keep a spreadsheet of names, email or physical addresses, and who referred. Your contributions will be counted. Incidentally, I don't think Facebook will be that helpful, some accumulate lots of names but I never see anything done with them, probably because they are on Facebook nearly all the time to do anything else.

Can we start now? Yes.


PRIZES: They will be good ones.

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