Photo: D.Chow via Flickr
We all want more customers.It doesn’t matter who you are — baker, butcher, or anonymous computer hacker. Getting more consumers is an all-consuming part of everything that you do. And that’s pretty logical.
Without customers you find yourself out of work gasping for air. So it’s only natural that you perk up when the topic of winning friends comes around. Heck, you can always learn something from the experts, right?
Which is even more troubling because most of what is currently being shelled out as advice is really a pitch to buy a “7 step” CD series on social media advertising.
Too late you wake up way too busy, a smidge poorer, and wondering how all the tweeting and Facebook posting is getting you anything more than arthritis in your fingers.
So let’s be frank. You can have more customers than you ever imagined. You can be in the nice position to tell people “NO”. You can be madly successful without selling your soul.
And here are a few ways to do that:
1. Stop needing new customers.
That’s right. Stop being so damn needy. It’s a bad stink that buyers pick up on the first time they start dealing with you. And it’s not just you networking like a maniac or tossing business cards at anyone within five feet of you, it’s the fact that you send horrible email marketing talking about how deals are “closing fast”.
That stuff just doesn’t work any more. (And it quite possibly never did work)
Be busy helping people for free. Give until it hurts. Sure you need to ask for the deal and get paid, but you also need to stop acting like you not landing this next new customer is going to make you go bankrupt.
If that’s really the case, then shame on you. Don’t take it out on unsuspecting new prospects.
2. Qualify new customers like they’re enemies.
Make it a rigorous process for you to do business with new customers. One of the reasons that you don’t have time to go prospect for new business is that you are trying to take care of the nonsensical demands of bad clients you shouldn’t be doing business with in the first place.
Your time is valuable. In fact, it’s more valuable than the incremental revenue you might lose by saying “NO” to the occasional business riff-raff looking to beat you up.
Take the time to learn what you’re really, really good at. And then start taking on new customers that need that value. Not only will you be happy, your clients will be ecstatic at the outrageous results you’ll be getting for them.
3. Deliver way more value than customers deserve.
There is something simply magical about having your expectations blown away. It’s the chocolate mint on your hotel room pillow. It’s getting your Amazon.com package a day earlier than you expected.
Right? It’s hard to describe the delight at getting more than you paid for.
Most of us are so focused on profit and loss and “what is fair” that we neglect the opportunity to create raving fans. And these raving fans are the evangelists who will get other people excited about what you do.
And that excitement and loyalty isn’t something that you can buy or market.
It can only happen when you over-deliver on the value you promise.
4. Treat referrals like gold.
Referrals aren’t a name and number or email address on a piece of paper. They are the next generation of buyers for your company
Treat them super-duper special.
And you know what that means. That means that you build a relationship with them before pitching the heck out of your merchandise.
Sure you need to get down to business fast and not just talk about the “weather” or “pictures of your kids”; but you also need to learn “why” those prospects might be good fit for you savvy products.
Part of that respect and relationship has to do with follow-up. Instead of just dashing off a single email or making a call ad leaving a voicemail, put in the effort to follow-up with them five to six times. Remember, these are prime opportunities, not just “leads”.
5. Be something that matters.
Customers are tired of you being boring. Have a higher calling than simply making more money and taking bigger vacations. Get obsessed with changing the world around you.
Stop going through the motions of calling your products “better” and challenge your team to “be” better.
It’s the words you say. It’s the unselfish attitude you have. It’s the kindness you show. Money is just a way to help others. Remember that. Getting rich is a state of mind. You start by planning to enrich the lives of others.
And that goal, without question, is the most attractive quality any business can ever have. That’s the kind of business customers want to be a part of.
You can have more.
You can grow your business farther and faster than you ever imagined. But it requires you to “be” a better business-person. Are you up for that challenge?
This post originally appeared at Edgy Conversations.
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