The Three R’s of Business

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The Three R’s of Business

When it comes to a successful education, old timers will tell us about the 3 R’s of education.  The idea is that a focus on “Readin, wRitin, and aRithmatic” would help create a good student.  And though that is (hopefully) not the entire focus of our education system today, we know that those are the basics for success.

When it comes to business, there are also the THREE “R’s” that are a great piece of any successful, long term business.  Those are:

  • Retention
  • Repeat Customers
  • Referrals


Customer retention is such an important topic, we have dedicated an entire blog post, just to that!  You can find that here.  In order to grow your business, you simply have to keep the customers you already have.

How do you that?  In a word?  Appreciation.  You have to let your current customers know that you truly appreciate their support and their business.  Studies will tell you that 69% of customers that leave your business do so because of “perceived indifference.”  That’s crazy!  So, one of the best ways to let your customers know that you appreciate them is to create a quarterly appreciation program.  At Hasseman Marketing, we are big believers in using Promotional Premiums to help you show appreciation and stay in front of your clients.  Regardless of how you do it, your business needs you to reach out and appreciate your customers on a regular basis.

Repeat Customers

All successful business owners want to have a steady stream of repeat customers that come to our door.  These repeat customers are the backbone of any vibrant business.  They are the “holy grail.”  These customers come back again and again and (hopefully) have a loyalty to spending their time and money with us!

They are also our best source for the other R—Referrals—but I will get to that in a minute.

These repeat customers are so great because we have already won them.  It takes a great deal of time, energy and money to capture a customer.  In fact, it’s much harder to convert a non-customer into a customer, than it is to sell to a current customer.  Depending on which study you believe, it costs 6 to 7 times more to capture a new customer than to sell to a current customer.

It’s one of the main mistakes I think many businesses make.  We spend most of our time and money on the clients that are hardest to reach!

So we have a base of repeat customers.  Great!  Now what do we do with them?  I think it’s safe to say the goal is to grow that base.  But how?

The first way is to get these repeat customers to come and do business with us more often!  If we can increase the number of times these customers do business with us, we increase sales.  Duh…right?

Well in two separate studies (in 1993 and 1994 respectively) promotional products were shown to improve repeat business.

Study One—Food Delivery Service

In this study, conducted by Southern Methodist University, 900 people were divided equally into 9 groups.  These nine groups were broken down by type of customer (existing residential, new residential, and business customer) and what they received (promotional product, coupon, or nothing).  The promotional products and coupons were both valued at $2.

*Customers who received promotional products ordered up to 18% sooner than those who received coupons!

*Customers who received promotional products also averaged up to 18% more orders than those receiving coupons.

In other words, the customers that received the promotional products ordered more quickly and more often than those that received coupons…or nothing.

Study Two—Dry Cleaner

This study, also conducted by Southern Methodist University, tracked the activity of 300 new customers at two locations of a dry cleaner.  These customers were randomly assigned one of three groups, all of who received a welcome letter.  Two of these groups received, in addition to the letter, a promotional product or a coupon—both valued at $5.

*Over an 8 month period, new customers that received a promotional product spent 27% more than those who received coupons, and 139% more than those who received only a welcome letter.

            *Promotional products recipients were 49% more likely than coupon recipients and 75% more likely than letter recipients to patronize the dry cleaner in each of the eight months studied. 

Again, those that received promotional products were spent more and were more regular customers than those that did not.

If repeat customers are the “Holy Grail” to business success, then you need to consider how cementing that relationship with a promotional product can help you grow.


Another huge part of any successful business is the second R…referrals.  As a business friend once told me, “The best way to get referrals is to deserve them!”  That is so true!  But I am going to assume that you are running a business that is worthy of referrals.  Now let’s talk about how to get more of them!

As I mentioned earlier, your current customer base is often the best place to look for growth in your business.  It’s also the place that many business owners and marketers ignore.  Let’s face it, your current client base already “gets” you.  They understand what you are all about.  So they can be a fantastic source of other potential customers.

The problem with referrals is, no really likes to ask for them!  Admit it.  You don’t like asking.  Most people don’t.  Nearly every time I speak to a group, everyone agrees that getting referrals is a great way to grow your business.  And just as consistently, most groups admit to failing to “consistently ask” for referrals.  See the problem?

How do we make it easier?  Give a promotional gift before asking for the referral.

A study done in 1993 by Baylor University shows that customers who receive a promotional product are more willing to provide referrals than those that don’t.  The study was conducted with 20 Mary Kay beauty consultants, half of whom distributed a promotional gift to customers; the other 10 offered no promotional gift.  The results were impressive.

*Customers who received a promotional product were 14% more likely to provide leads than those that did not.

            *Salespeople who gave promotional products to their customers received 22% more referrals than the salespeople who did not use the promotional gift.

Providing even a small promotional gift to customers will increase the likelihood that they will provide you with great referrals.  Combine that with the fact that you have a business worth referring…and you have business gold!

Create a Referral Program

Are you still struggling to ask for that referral?  What about creating a program that asks for you?  It would go something like this:

Create a flyer that could be emailed, mailed, faxed (sent via smoke signal) to your current customer base.  This flyer would advertise a nice “Referral Gift.”  This gift could be anything from a nice watch to a piece of luggage (use your imagination).  The gift does not have to break the bank, but it does need to be nice enough to garner attention.

Send the flyer letting customers know that if they provide a referral that turns into business for you, they will receive this fabulous gift.  Boom.

Here are some things to consider on a referral program.

  • The gift needs to be nice enough to get your customer to act.
  • Make the first purchase minimum enough that the proceeds from that sale will cover the cost of the item. That way you might break even on this transaction, but now you have a customer for life!
  • Make it feel somehow “exclusive.” Maybe you only send it out in groups to your top 20% of clients.  They are the most likely to give you the best referrals anyway!

This simple program will take “the ask” out of the referral!  You have gone from asking them for a referral to giving them an opportunity for a great gift!

Either way, you want to have a strong case of the Three R’s if you want a successful business.  Now you know how promotional products can help you!  If you love this blog, you can find more information like this is the book Delivering Marketing Joy available here.  

1 Mistake I See People Make in the Give First Economy

Reading Time: 2 minutes

hasseman marketing gift mistake I believe we are living in a “Give First Economy.”  What I mean by this (and I talk about it more here) is that the best and most successful brands, salespeople, entrepreneurs, etc. provide value up front.  They “give” before they go for the sale. This is great for people who want to “do business right,” because they are poised to do this anyway.  They want to help. But there is one mistake that I see people make all of the time around this concept.  They want to say “thank you,” but they mix it up.  Let me explain. I got a box in the mail the other day from one of our suppliers.  They are a great company, and we do a decent amount of business with them.  The box said it had a gift inside, so I was excited to break it open.  Let’s face it, it’s always nice to get a “thank you gift.”   However, when I opened the package, there was a sales flyer and samples.  Don’t get me wrong.  They were nice samples.  They even had good information on the sales flyer.  It was a quality sales piece…and it got me to open the box.   But it was NOT a thank you gift. I immediately felt duped.  I was a disappointed.  I went from being excited to being (mildly) annoyed.  It was not the most egregious mistake in the world.  It’s not like I won’t forgive them.  But I guarantee you it was not what they wanted me to feel (at least I hope not).   So just a quick word of advice for Succeeding in the Give First Economy; don’t mix up appreciation and sales.  If you want to say “thank you,” then just do that.  Show the appreciation.   Be sincere.  Give first. Don’t work in a sales pitch.  You are smart enough to see through that…and so are your customers and prospects.  It takes away from the original intent.  It also decreases the likelihood that I open the next package. Make sure you never miss an update!  Sign up for a VIP newsletter here.  It’s not a sales trap…just a place where we share our content (and what’s going on at HMC).    

Keys To A Great Holiday Party

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hasseman marketing holiday party Tis the season for holiday parties!   Your reaction to that statement probably reflects a few factors.  First, it might depend on how you feel about getting together in public.  It also might depend on how you feel about the holidays.  But maybe the most powerful indicator about how you feel about holiday parties is what kind of festivities you have been to in the past.   Last night I attended one that was great.  And it got me to thinking…what makes a great holiday event?  Here is a quick (and likely incomplete) list. 1.  Socialization:  I love it when I get the opportunity to meet and greet with great people.  The holidays can be a time when you are so caught up getting ready for them, that you don’t take time to enjoy them.  The best parties allow the time for you to connect with good people. 2.  Food And Drink:  Whether it’s finger foods or a full meal, then best holiday gatherings offer the chance to enjoy something good to eat and drink.   3.  Laughter:  For me, I love any event when I get a chance to laugh.  Whether you create that opportunity for your guests, or it happens naturally, laughter is the best holiday song.  Create an atmosphere where everyone can have some fun. 4.  Appreciation:  The holiday season is a great time to show your gratitude.  Whether it’s for your team or for your customers (or both), a cool holiday party gives you the chance to say “thank you.”  Last night I attended a party where the leaders got up and personally expressed gratitude over the microphone, then they gave each attendee a gift on the way out.  It was simple and classy.   So if you are planning a holiday event, those are a few simple keys to keep in mind.  But as I said, this list is likely woefully incomplete.  What makes holiday events for you?  Let us know! Make sure you never miss an update!  It’s time to become a VIP!  Sign up for our VIP list here.

3 Tips On The Perfect Corporate Gift

Reading Time: 2 minutes

hasseman marketing corporate holiday gifts One of the reasons I love Delivering Marketing Joy is, I not only get to ask some of the smartest people in business a few questions each week, but they get to ask me one.  We structure it this way so it’s more of a discussion.   (You can find the latest Delivering Marketing Joy here). I love this because these thoughtful leaders often ask me questions that I have not answered before.  Or, more likely, they ask them in different ways that make me think differently.   This happened to today.   The show we recorded will not air for a few weeks, but the question is incredibly timely, so I wanted to share it here.  I was asked: “What are 3 things to think about when getting a corporate branded gift to make sure it is on the mark?”  Though I get asked about corporate gifts a lot, this was a different way of looking at it.  So I wanted to share my answer.  Oh…and of course you need to think about how much you want to spend…and how many you want to give.  But so many people don’t go any deeper than that!  So here is a little different thought process. Many of us have heard the term “Who?  What?  Where?”  These are the questions you need to answer when telling a story.  They are also the things you want your clients to remember…right? But when creating a corporate gift you want to answer “Who?  Where?  What?”  Same questions, but in a specifically different order. Who:  When creating the perfect gift, you want to think hard about WHO you are giving it to?  What do they look like?  What are they interested in?  Are they predominately female, young, old, techy, office, etc.  Who are they really? Where:  Next I like to consider WHERE I would like them to enjoy the gift.  Do I want to occupy space on their desk?  Are they in the office (and do they need to share)?  Do I want them to use these in their home?  Where do I want them to enjoy the gift? What:  Only after I get the first two figured out do I roll to WHAT I want to give them.  Once I know the WHO and the WHERE, this can come together quickly.  If they are a young tech-friendly crowd and I want them to use them in the office, maybe I like the idea of bluetooth headphones.   You get the idea.  Go through this process and you might find just the perfect gift that they might NOT get for themselves.   P.S.  If you want a few cool last minute ideas, you might want to check this out. Make sure you never miss an update!  Sign up for our VIP newsletter.  Each week we send one email with all of the content for the week so you can catch up!  Sign up here.  

Great Gifts They WON'T Buy For Themselves

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 I was meeting with a client the other day and we were discussing year end gifts for some of her VIP customers.  She said she wanted to get them “something cool,” and then she added, “really I want to get them something they would love…but they would not buy for themselves.” Yes!  That’s perfect.  That a the definition of a great gift.  It’s something they would love…but not buy for themselves!  With that challenge in mind, I thought I would share a few that I think fit the bill! Urban Peak Gift Set:  I love this.  As a matter of fact, it’s the gift I got our team last year.  Why?  Because it fits everyone.  It’s functional.  It’s got wow factor.  And with a full color imprint, you have great branding opportunities.  This gift includes the Urban Peak cooler (great size) and 3 (count ’em 3) great vacuum drinkware pieces.  Get more information here. Mission Pack:  This is still my go to backpack. Designed by people who really travel, this one has all the bells and whistles.  And, get this, with a minimum of 1 piece, you can personalize this too!  Check it out here.   Sonosphere Bluetooth Speaker:  This is a super cool gift with great sound.  The Sonosphere is a beautiful speaker and includes a full color imprint.  Again, this is the kind of piece where you can really tell your story or show your appreciation.  In addition, this is another piece with a one piece minimum…so you can personalize this like an award.  Oh…and I love the packaging of this piece.  If you want to make your VIP’s feel special, then this should be on the list! Yes…Beer:  As I mentioned in this recent blog, we are doing Private Label Craft Beer.  This is truly a one of a kind gift.  For more information on it, check this post out.  Finally, let’s talk about Brands!   North Face Dry Vent Rain Jacket:  You may not know this, but we able to get you the best brands in the business as well.  This is just one example of a stylish jacket you can find in retail…and you can co-brand with now.  This is a great jacket from North Face. And if you are interested in other brands, like Under Armour, Columbia, Coleman, Dri-Duck, and so much more…we have your back.   These are all cool gifts that they will be really fired up to get…but they probably won’t go out and by.  So they are sure to delight! As always, now is a great time to make sure you never miss an update.  Join our VIP list here.