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Building Customer Relationships: It’s All About People
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Zig Zielgar once said “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”

Well trust comes from building customer relationships that are strong and relationships are all about people.

Many large companies have built solid business models on this idea.

Starbucks built its success on good coffee. However the inspiration for the company’s coffee-bar format came in the early 1980s when their marketing director Howard Schultz, who had recently come on board, visited coffee bars in Italy and noticed the close rapport between customers and the baristas who made their coffee every day. They were focused on building customer relationships that mattered. Howard reasoned that if he could transplant that one-on-one relationship to America, Starbucks would thrive. And of course, he was right. It’s one of my favorite coffee houses to this day.

Why do we bother marketing? To tell the world about a great product or service we believe can and will help their business. What makes them listen and then want to buy? They’ve heard about you through someone they trust or they themselves trust you because you have taken the time to build a relationship with them.

We live in a super speed crazed age. Fast cars, fast food, fast internet, fast correspondence, fast websites and fast deals. Sometimes in the flurry of all things “fast” the personal touch just spins right out the window…

We spend massive amounts of time creating great content, sending perfectly pitched newsletters, creating new products, and yet sometimes it still seems like your efforts have been in vain. You have built it, now they are supposed to come. So you wait, and wait, and… nothing.

Apparently doing that only works if you’re Kevin Costner.

What has happened? Let’s assume you have created an amazing product or service but you have been so busy during the creative process you have neglected the “P” aspect- Personal.

I know as marketers and sales people we feel we know this, but do we? When someone writes to you and you know there is no potential for them to help you in return do you ignore them? Or do you take a minute and see if you are able to help?

I’m going to give you a quick example of how keeping it personal really helped me, my family and my business recently. Then I’ll share a few tips so that you can do the same.

Getting Famous

I’m in the throes of launching my Ebook Get Famous. I know I don’t have to tell any of you what a challenge that can be, the amount of work it takes, and the editing. Just ask Danny about his Engagement from Scratch! I know that editing a book of that size is quite a major task.

Early on I had a blogger write to me. She wanted to know how to improve in certain areas and wanted to join a few Tribes, and a personal tribe on my Facebook. Her numbers were very low as far as followers were concerned. I think it’s always important for people to remember that no matter what size Guru you think you are, you are still just a person. No better than anyone else.

So I looked at her numbers and gave her a few tips on how she could improve and shared a few other thoughts I had for her. Not only did she triple her numbers but she is now a top commentator on my blog. In addition to all of that she is a professional writer. When she heard I was launching my eBook she offered to edit the entire thing. I have had the copy reviewed a few times and I was eager to have her look it over. I don’t think she would have been so quick to offer her services if I had just dismissed her when she asked for help.

And what is the result? In addition to having another great editor on my team, she’s a great promoter sharing my content all over the web, and has turned out to be a wonderful friend. By adding her skills to those I had on hand for my eBook she has saved me valuable time that I can instead devote to my business or my family.

If you will allow yourself to get personal with the people connecting with your product or business via your newsletters, comments or your website, it will open up a world of rich prospects you may not have known existed otherwise.

So what are some of the tips to add the “P” into your marketing plan?

Answer Concerns in Your Comment Section Whenever Possible

Many times people will ask a question in the comment section of your post. When they do make sure you help them however you can. Answer questions, give tips, give a follow up response, let them know you hear them and you are there to help. If you want a great example of this you don’t have to go very far. Right here on Firepole Marketing check out how Danny responds. He is always there to encourage, give additional suggestions or help. What does that do? It makes people love him. They think “What a great guy he took time to help me.” Translation = I’ll help him however I can. Which translates into sales.

2. When People, NOT Autobots, but People Ask Questions via Social Media, Respond

I receive many questions via my Twitter account @MompreneurMogul. People ask questions like, “How did you get on Yahoo!Shine? How did you get that offer? I want to know more about starting a blog,” and so on.  Respond to them. Share a few tips. It will go a long way. You really never know where today’s beginner may end up. Additionally whether they become the next massive marketing genius or just a hobby blogger, treat each person equally; with respect and a helping hand. This will take your business to new levels.

3.Relate to People on Their Level.

Don’t just meet your customers needs; let them know you understand.

No one likes to feel as if they are alone. If their blog having is having a hard time, let them know you were once there, too. If their product has difficulty gaining traction, let them know you’ve been there, too. This instantly helps them to feel a bond and connect with you on a more personal level. They realize if you found a way out, they can as well. Relate to people where they are not where you are.

4. Pick Up the Phone or Skype

Pick up the phone and speak to your potential clients in person. Or Skype, either works fine. I am not suggesting you call everyone on your list. However occasionally talking on the phone is a great way to build customer relationships. Skype does the same thing. It’s a totally different experience to talk to someone on the phone (or on Skype!) than it is to exchange even a dozen long emails. You might be able to laugh, discover mutual, unrelated, interests and take your relationship to something a little deeper and more serious than just business owner – potential client.

5. Be Yourself, Not Your Brand

When you speak with people who reach out to you make sure to be yourself. They may love your brand but I don’t think anyone gets excited by an email that’s from “The Mompreneur Mogul Team”

Much better to say: Lisa from Mompreneur Mogul. Or whatever your company name may be. Brands are good, useful, valuable things – but unless there is a person behind the brand, it will be hard to forge a real relationship.

A while ago IBM had launched a campaign where they allowed their employees to start their own blogs and write about their experiences and what they were working on. This immediately gave a more personal connection between the Big Brand IBM and its customers.

Regardless of the size of your business take time for those who have given some of their time to you. I know from experience Danny Iny makes a point of doing so, and that’s one major reason why this site does so well.

It’s just smart marketing because when a buyer is faced with a choice between similar products or services the company who has built the personal relationship with their potential customers will always win.

I’ve shown you a few examples of companies that have implemented this marketing strategy but the lists are endless. I’ve also shown you how it has personally benefited my company. However, if you never saw a single business result from being kind to others and being more personal with your potential clients I would urge you to do it anyway.

Why?

Because it just makes the world a better place for all of us to co-exist and have a happy fulfilled life and business.

Lisa Cash Hanson is the author of the  "Get Famous The Most Amazing Mom Bloggers Resource On The Planet".  She was recently featured on Yahoo! Shine viewed by over 1.5 million people and named Top 25 Mom Tech Blog. Lisa is the founder of Mompreneur Mogul teaching women how to make money online and blog their way to a brighter future. Her weekly Newsletter is packed with tips for those who want to make money blogging and get media attention for their blogs.

23 Comments

  1. heather mccurdy says:

    Great post Lisa! It really is the human factor that opens up avenues. Blogging is such a hard niche as there are so many out there. Lisas advice rings true in everyday living as well as blogging. Thank you Lisa!

  2. This is a fantastic post, Lisa
    I once read on a marketing site that many new businesses fail, because they focus more on getting new customers than the customers that they have. I applied this to my blog and try and always show appreciate for the followers that I have and that change in perspective really helped me with Keep the Tail Wagging.

    I agree that it’s all about the relationships that we’re building. There are so many great people out there and every connection I’ve made has been wonderful. Not only am I growing my blog, but I’m meeting some great people along the way.

    Kimberly

  3. Mike Kawula says:

    Awesome Post! I find it difficult sometimes as an internet retailer to achieve each of these points all the time, but we definitely strive to. To point 5 we really try to have each of our team members talk to each customer that calls and try to connect at some level outside of a cleaning supply or office supply that they may be purchasing. In the month of May we told each team member to WOW each customer, listen to them, ask questions and give them something for free as a thank you with their purchase. I think its easy to connect on a personable level via the phone, curious on different ways to get personable on our website? Again great post and I’m going to use this today for our morning team meeting!

  4. Amiee Woods says:

    It is definitely about the people. We must meet their needs in order to get their support. One thing that I am doing to boost this in my marketing is to think of myself as the client. When I do this it helps to keep the target on them and not just marketing the product. Thank you, Lisa for a wonderful post!

  5. Lisa, you killed it here. Hearing and reading about you for the first time but you sure caught my attention. It is true to always be yourself and not your brand.

    Been yourself is the best for you because every now and then, you sure know yourself and can defend it. Yourself isrelative to your brand as well and people knows you for that.

    About replying to comments, its part of the things that popular bloggers used in creating a ‘cult’ errrnnn followers.

    Sheyi

  6. Thank you guys so much!!! No matter what your business or product or service we ALL have something unique to contribute and if we copy- well we really are robbing others of something truly amazing! Go for it!

  7. Berni Xiong says:

    It may have been an inadvertent spelling snafu on your part, but to give credit where it’s due, the quote you opened up with was by Zig Ziglar. And yes, it is always about the People! Those who get that right will experience greater success because giving of ourselves to help others is the greatest reward. Thanks for the post!

  8. Dina Schwartz says:

    Well written…it’s about kindness and heart.

  9. [...] Time To Put The “P” Back Into Your Marketing – It’s All About People This entry was posted in scurte by georgibacsi. Bookmark the permalink. [...]

  10. Dee Ankary says:

    Being human and accessible goes a long way. No matter how big a guru gets, it pays to remember it wasn’t always that way.

    Besides, there’s no greater joy than when you connect, help and watch positive growth happen for both parties.

    Great post.

    Dee

  11. Tamara says:

    Awesome post! It’s good to be reminded that people come first. Your friendly, helpful, authentic voice always comes through in your writing and your advice, when applied, truly makes a difference. I’ve experienced this numerous times and always come back for more… whether I take the time to comment and tell you so or not (of which I mean to do more)!

  12. Great idea Lisa,

    Your post really helped me because I’ve been trying to be my brand for years instead of being myself and let my brand stay on other side. But, reading this great post give me a better insight into being REAL online. I’m so happy for it and God bless.

    BTW, this is my first time of coming here and its really a good experience.

  13. Lisa,

    Great stuff here! Being a real person is very important. not only is it more comfortable to “read” when someone comes across as genuine, but it really helps to get you to feel that they really care and that the things that they say has meaning. All absolutely essential when trying to connect to others.

    • Thanks for adding that Steve. It’s like when you meet people in a room. If you are talking and the person is looking around – no connection. Same online. If we’re not real they will know.

  14. Ruth Zive says:

    I like #5 the best. Put a different way, your brand should be authentic – it should represent who you are, your values, what you stand for. Rather than ‘being your brand’, your brand should reflect you, right?

    Must admit, I’m a wee bit jealous of the blogger who got to edit your ebook :-).

  15. Just checked out your blog Ruth. 1st there will be more books :) 2nd Mom to 5? You’re my hero! LOL I’m barely handling ONE but she is like 10 in one…or maybe it’s the first time mom thing not sure :) Thanks so much Ruth I love your blog I’ll be visiting!

  16. […] Peter says: “Marketing is the process of creating and maintaining a customer relationship.” […]

  17. […] Service happens when a customer already has a problem – it’s much better to work on building customer relationships […]

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