This week, love is in the air, is it not? With a plethora of folks scampering off to flower and chocolate delivery service websites, and the card aisles across all local drugstores being picked over like the apocalypse, we thought it might be nice to get you thinking about your customers much the same way those exasperated couples might be in the not-too-distant-future.
Oftentimes, we think of our customers — be we a B2B or B2C — as means to an end. They represent our bottom line, our overhead being met, our product quality and assurance testers in the field… all potentially line-items to be scatter-plotted and analyzed every quarter. But beyond the data (which is immensely importantbut spared for another week), is the anecdotal evidence you need to not only sustain your business… but grow it.
And it all starts with love.
Go back to the very beginning of your business, and I’ll bet my bottom dollar you remember your first customer. From the moment you pitched them your product or service to the second they nodded yes to the deal, should be a sensory memory worth doting on from time to time. More than any other customer since, this first customer is the one your business loved first. They (hopefully) represent the standard by which you measure all future prospects and deals. But rest assured: no deal will ever cost you as much time and effort as that first.
And ask yourself… are they still a customer today? If not, why? Did you outgrow them? Did they outgrow you? Much as any relationship may be… a partnership can be fleeting. But it never discounts the quality of what you had when you had it. Remember your very first love. The butterflies in your stomach. The feeling of anticipation each time you’d talk to one another. The head-spinning euphoric joy you had at all your firsts (first date, first kiss, first joint credit application…). With that relationship in mind, look at your business today.
Every customer you earn, is earned by your pitch, your reputation, your value proposition, and the specific needs being met by the specific customer. If you invest in their satisfaction — that is to force your company to express a love of their commitment to your business through that purchase — they will invest in your company’s future prosperity.
In Jeffery Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling, as many other “101” guides to basic sales and support will tell you: making your customers evangelists of your brand is crucial to growth. And when your customer feels loved? So to will they reciprocate the love outwardly to the world; carrying your signal farther, on the wings of organic referrals (the kind of referrals that simply can’t be bought by selective adword buys and statistical analysis).
In the best relationships, both partners make the other better. They help provide a focal point, and a driving-nature to succeed. When a business makes you feel special for making a purchase, you as a customer almost unescapably evangelize.
Buy a car from a salesman who made you feel like a million dollars… Who got you the deal you never thought, and found a way to sneak in those seat warmers, and a year of satellite radio for no extra cost? Well, I sure bet you tell the next coworker or family member that comes within earshot will wind up hearing your pitch to them about your great experience.
Or when you purchased that software suite to help manage your overhead… and they took to time to not only train your staff on implementing the tools, but then followed up every month to ensure you were using the suites robust features? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out when you’ll be sending their team an extra basket of cookies come Christmas season, right?
So, consider this your homework for the week:
1. Make a list of 5 products or services your company has used that you love.
2. With each one of those 5… list 5 reasons why you love the company that sold you that product or service.
3. Now, look at your business, and ask yourself the hard question: How many of those 25 things you just listed above are you doing to ensure your customers love you?