We all talk about our image in the eyes of our customers as though that was a single entity. In fact there are four parts to that image, and each part must be visible or your message will not be heard, and that can mean that your business will suffer.
An earlier post described the “know, like and trust” aspect of the image that you and your business needs to cultivate, and we’ve described the difference between ‘selling’ someone and establishing the conditions that encourage people to want to buy from you. The rest of this article is about another aspect of your business image.
We know that your perception is your reality, and that your customer’s perception becomes your businesses’ reality.
Regardless of whether you sell a product or service, you need to instruct your customers on what they need to do to maximise the benefit they receive from having used your product or service, and that means covering three different aspects, and an additional perspective that is missed at least 99% of the time.
The first aspect is that you must give your customers the detailed instructions that enable them to get the maximum benefit – how to best use your product or service. Tell them exactly what they need to do, when they need to do it, and how. This is the easy bit, and it just requires you to transfer your knowledge to your customer.
The second aspect is that you need to reinforce your marketing message in that you must inspire your customer that they have made a great decision. Tell them again about the benefits they are likely to receive as a result of their decision to buy from you, and how they can ensure that those benefits can be realised. For example give them some tips or shortcuts that will provide additional value. your goal is to make them really pleased that they bought from you rather than the guy down the street.
Then you must connect your product or service with your customer achieving their higher purpose. That doesn’t mean that all your customers want to save the world, but they will want to leave their children a legacy, and yes, some of them will want to leave the world a better place for having been here.
Throughout these posts you will find many tips that will make your work easier and more productive, all you have to do is follow the guidelines. That will improve your profits, and most likely reduce your effort – working ‘with’ your customers is more effective than trying to trap them into buying something.
Can you imagine what difference an additional 10% or 20% or more profit will make to your family’s lifestyle? That’s what you can achieve if you read and follow our posts. No, that’s not a marketing ‘spin’, that’s the result of 30+ years of study and hard work that I’m sharing, plus the 40+ years that the other contributors have shared.
If you have been paying attention you will have noticed that so far there have only been three aspects mentioned. Now its time for the last piece of the puzzle.
Remember I said that it is the hidden piece? Its hidden because your customer doesn’t see it, only you know it is there. Your customer is aware of the effect though. The hidden piece is your plan to make this all happen in the first place. Leaving your customer experience up to chance means that they may or may not enjoy the experience of dealing with your business. Having a fully worked out ‘Customer Care Experience’ plan and implementing it means that your customers are likely to want to come back.
All four aspects are important, though the last one is arguably the most important one of all. The problem is that 99% of businesses do not have a plan, and the opportunity for you is that 99% of businesses do not have a plan. Creating and implementing a Customer Care Experience that maximises the benefit your customers receive as a result of buying from you will create solid, long-term relationships with your target market, and that’s great for business!
Do you have an idea that you’d like to share? Just leave a comment and tell us what you think.
The most popular current search on Google as I write this is the name of a young Pop Star. What does that mean for your business? A lot in terms of promotion and customer loyalty, that’s what.
Nearly every copywriter will tell you to maintain a “cheat file’, where you keep a copy of adverts and copy that resonated with you for subsequent reuse in your campaigns. That’s good advice, and it is where the benefits of the latest Pop Star begin.
You see they have megabucks available for their campaigns. They can just about spend what they like to get the message out, and they will still make a good return. You don’t have to mimic their budget, but you’d be crazy not to mimic their techniques!
Every popular musician known to history has been on every music or video hits show and nearly every talk show they can get to. They always talk a little, and then they sing one or two songs and they are off to repeat the actions at the next studio. So what?
They spend all that time effectively giving away their best, that’s what. You get to hear their latest song for free. You also get to know a little about them – they grew up in a little town in Canada/a big city in the USA, they had living parents/they didn’t have any parents, they always dreamed of performing/they were surprised one day by a stranger who asked if they would like to sing for a living. It’s almost like you grew up together, you know so much about them!
And they rarely ask you to buy – they do say that they’d like to see you at the concert tomorrow night, which a cynic could say amounts to the same thing, but there is a subtle difference. If I engage you in conversation and then ask you to buy from me you would be forgiven for thinking that the only reason I engaged you in conversation was so I could sell you something. If instead I say “Looking forward to seeing you at my concert tomorrow” there is a softer ‘tone’, the message isn’t quite so “in your face” and the connection between conversation and converting sales is not so obvious.
“I hope you all enjoy my new CD” is another phrase that really means “Buy the damn thing and listen to it!”. How many phrases can you identify?
There is nothing wrong in this, by the way. They are simply creating the situation where people want to buy their music, versus trying to find people to sell it to. They do that because it is easier and it lasts longer.
And that’s what your business needs – easier, more effective marketing that is remembered longer. It also usually costs less, and is more likely to go viral.
What can your business give away to generate interest? That can be knowledge/advice, demonstrations, a regular (weekly/monthly) prize, or a cross promotion with another business that serves the same target market. Offer one of their products to your customers, and one of yours to theirs?
How can you let your customers and potential customers know about ‘you’? Just talk to them, with no particular end in mind. They will ask about what is important to them, and you just give a straight answer.
Then you just need to position the desire to buy from you – “Looking forward to …” and then tell them about what hey will receive – “…making your car run like new again”, “… hearing about the fun your kids are having in the pool we built”. You can figure out the right positioning phrase for your business – or should I say phrases. Have three or four, and feel free to pop them into the one conversation.
What was that you just said? Oh, I grew up in the country, and picked up a lot of my values then. When I was 17 I went to College in the city, and learned a lot about how things worked and the importance of getting it right the first time, and being on time. I have continued learning since then, figuring out how to put that into practice in my own business and the businesses I help. And I enjoy doing that – I think that’s what I was put here to do. I’ve been doing it since 1980 and with lots of businesses the same size as yours. So what’s your biggest business problem? Maybe I can help.
No, I haven’t forgotten customer loyalty. Think about the average fan – they plaster their walls at home with posters and assorted gadgets, they buy everything associated with the object of their desire! How many of your customers do that?
Some of them might, if you start to give your customers an experience they will not forget when they interact with you. And that’s the important part – what’s the experience like – buying from you? If it is fun and leaves a lasting positive impression, just like our pop star fans go home singing to themselves, your customers might go home thinking about your business! More on giving your customers a great experience later.
When Michael Hewitt-Gleeson (Principal of `The School of Thinking’) is consulting to business leaders, this is the first question he asks his clients:
Why did you lose sleep last night?
He has found that these are the top ten problems that, over the past 12 months, business leaders are saying they lose sleep over …
• “the constant pressure to meet and beat my quarterly targets”
• “how to balance my work pressures with the needs of my family and my health?”
• “how can I recruit smarter, more productive people?”
• “I’m losing good people. How can I keep them from leaving?”
• “I need to develop a lot more leaders in our enterprise”
• “to better manage a much more competitive culture”
• “we need to find a more effective communications strategy”
• “our metrics are not up to scratch. How to better analyse sales and KPIs”
• “I worry about whether our security is OK”
• “how to ensure the survival and succession of my business”.
Michael further states the following:
What is interesting about all of these problems is that they are not new. There are already solutions readily available. Every one of these sleep-loser problems has already been solved many times by many managers all around the world. But most people are stuck in their current brain patterns and their thinking goes round and round and round.
This is where the need for a new and simple thinking skills comes in and you can read more about his X10 thinking technique that has solved the problems of many businesses big and small – Click here