This one action kicks-off customer relationships with a bang. It is all in this emotion.
Think about your customer. What is it they want today? What frustrates them today? What do they wish to become today? What do they wish were different today? What improvement do they seek today? What did they try, have not work, and yet still wish it worked? What is their chief problem you may solve for them? Who are you creating for? How concentrated are you in whom you solve problems for? Start with Who is it for? Pick your market wisely because it isn’t for everyone. It is only for these people.
How much time do you spend with your market, hanging around them? Going where they go? Hitting events they hit? Traveling to locations they travel to? Getting to know them as well as you can? As I like to say, ideally, you should be in the market you wish to sell too. Buy what they buy. Experience what they experience. Get frustrated at what they get frustrated at. Share food and drink with them. And really get to know them well. While digital has been excellent to get us in front of potential customers, it hasn’t been so great really getting to know people better. Good, old Face-to-face meetings are the new luxury. Still nothing builds relationships like these. The good news is that few people are willing to make the investments required to build market relationships in this way. You can be different.
When you first meet someone potentially in your market, what do you do? How do you treat them? Do you vomit stuff about you and your company all over them, assuming they want to hear all about you, your products and how long your company has been in business? Or, do you open with a question about them? Pertaining to them? Making them think about their stuff? Better, when you first meet someone, do you offer them a gift? A well-placed, time-honored gift? Even online, when someone first comes to your web site, do you offer them a targeted gift? Or, do you garble on about you, your company, and how awesome you are?
Gift-giving is still underrated, especially to people brand new to us. What better way to kick-off a new relationship than to give someone a gift? The underlying laws of persuasion state that reciprocity, feeling the need to give back to someone who has just given us something of value, is one of its pillars. You are doing something kind for someone else without expectation of reciprocity or recompense. You’re simply being cool to them. Like giving them a free training. Or, connecting them with someone they wouldn’t otherwise know. Or, helping to solve a problem immediately that’s been paining them. Explore the power of gift-giving. It is an exceptional way to start any relationship.
Don’t forget about your long-time customers, too. It is easy to take these people for granted if they’ve been with you for years. Don’t do this! Make them feel special, like you value them as much as you value a new customer. Don’t take the cable company marketing strategy and only give great deals to new people for six months. Or, far worse, making them buy stuff they don’t want. Keep giving unexpected gifts. Be more generous with your time, talents and money. Introduce people to one another to help each other out. As a connector, you will attract more people to you than you think.
Think about your strategy when people first come to you. What can you offer them? What gift can you give them? If you don’t have a lot of money, you likely have more time. Give them some of your time. Offer to help solve a problem. Offer to connect them to a person who can also help them. Offer them a training you do that helps them solve pressing problems in their market. Be cool to them. Teach them. Bring people together. Help transform them and transport them from where they are to where they want to be.
If you can do these things, and focus on the lifetime value of your customer and not just one transaction, you will differentiate yourself from the competition. You’ll be adding value by building true relationships with your customer that they will value and feel valued. It is all in how you make them feel