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