Do you love your customers? Do they know it? And more importantly do they love you? If you love your business than you’d better love your customers. They are the ones who allow you to do what you love. Without them it is just a money-losing hobby.
You don’t need to love all your customers. Some you like and others you just tolerate. Be sure to love your best customers. And make sure that all your customers believe you love them.
When you love someone how do they know – unless you show them?
The one universal gesture understood by people from all cultures and even some animals is the smile. It makes you feel good by releasing endorphins to your brain. You will be in a better mood. You will act friendly and express confidence and warmth. Your customer will feel good because you look friendly. They are more likely to like you, believe you and do business with you. They will feel welcomed and happy to see you – and want to see you again.
Frown at your lover. That’s one way to leave them.
Cavet Robert, founder of the National Speakers Association said, “People don’t care about you until they believe that you care about them.” By listening to your customers they will begin to believe that you care about them and their needs. Instead of trying to shove your product down their throats – listen to what they want and need.
Listening is a skill. It takes study, concentration and practice. Asking questions is a key element of listening. Questioning is the way to uncover your customers needs and wants. In his book, “Stop, Ask, and Listen”, author and sales trainer, Kelley Robertson suggests that asking the right questions and listening will help you to dissipate customer objections completely.
They may or may not state what they need but you need to listen to their words and between the lines for what they really want. People buy what they want – not what they need. Sometimes they overlap. Don’t believe me? Then consider who ‘needs’ to join fitness clubs – unfit people. Yet visit any fitness club and the vast majority is fit. They want to be fit. What teenager needs a cell phone – but they get one because they want it. Who needs an SUV? Understanding and satisfying wants are more important than needs.
I found it curious that while shopping for a new car no one asked why I had bought my current vehicle or what I liked and disliked about it. They just wanted to sell their car. I bought from none of them. While shopping for computer accessories I was annoyed at the salesperson that was intent on selling me the upgraded warranty program instead of listening to my questions. I bought elsewhere.
Not listening, not asking good questions, not appearing interested and not satisfying wants are a few more ways to leave your lover.
Do you respect your customers, their concerns and their decisions? When I carefully place my groceries on the checkout belt I watch over my purchases with protective ownership. I had carefully checked those eggs, selected that bunch of formerly unbruised bananas, and gently squeezed the fresh bread. When the cashier shoves my food down the belt like a pile of coal I am offended and angered. The voice inside me yells, “This is my food that you are damaging.”
Show no respect – bye-bye love. Be honest.
Peter Urs Bender my co-author on Secrets of Power Marketing preaches, “Under promise and over deliver.” When you don’t deliver what you promised you are deemed to be a liar. Intending to or hoping to just doesn’t cut it. Be realistic then reduce your estimates of delivery. The secret of keeping customers happy is exceeding customer expectations. This line is so important that you should read it again.
A well-known transmission repair shop made a new promise each day to me and broke it the following day. I will never use them again and if you ask me about the story I will tell you.
Make and break promises – a sure way to lose a lover.
Admit mistakes and make amends. I tried a new printer. He smiled at me when I picked up my stuff. He even presented me with some good-looking copies. When I opened the boxes after returning to my office I discovered substandard work. I called immediately to complain. His first comment was about how difficult the job was because he did not have the right machine. He seemed to imply that it was my fault and he made no attempt to apologize for hiding the defective work. Instead he attempted to convince me to accept his work because he had his cost to recover. I will never work with this printer again.
Hide and deny your imperfections and mistakes – kiss goodbye.
There must be more than 50 ways to leave your lover – and to lose your customers. On the other hand your best marketers are happy customers. The easiest way to keep your customers happy is to think like them. Discover what is important to them. Ask them and listen. Be a customer of your business. Physically or mentally run through the process of doing business with you. What would annoy you? Instead of explaining the annoyances – find ways to change them. Fall in love all over again – with your business and your customers.