What are you doing to make and enhance a connection with your customers?
When it comes to spending money, the customer wants to know who you are before they commit. They are curious about your values, morals or habits. And the easiest way for them to have their curiosity curbed, is for you to give them what they want.
That is precisely why you should embrace social media. Not a single tool, in the last 25-30 years, has given the business owner the chance to display images, video and status updates that break down the wall between salesman and human being. The introduction of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest has everyone in a search craze just prior to making a big purchase.
They are performing “pre-purchase research.” And what they are hoping to find, is that a relatable human is selling the product or providing the service. The results need to expose that business or company as a place that is built on trust, honesty and integrity.
Now don’t get me wrong, price still plays a gigantic role in the overall buying decision. But with more and more options available everyday, and often from businesses not even in this country, consumers need more than just a low price guarantee. A solid combination of price, testimonials and engaging images has proven to be the recipe for sales success.
The internet has allowed the proverbial crème to rise to the top! Gone are the days when you could personify yourself as a trustworthy salesman, and then go home and act a fool, cheat on your wife, lie on your income tax return and drive while under the influence. Those examples are extreme, but my point is, that in the 21st century, nothing is hidden from the eyes of the consumer. If they want to find a reason why to spend money with your competitors, they will find it.
And in record time.
Your business, if it hasn’t already, has to become an extension of you. Not some farce, but a real life version of who you are from the second the sun rises to the moment you lay your head down on the pillow at night.
1) Social Media
I briefly talked about this above, but building a social media profile is a quick and effective way to start earning trust online. I like to post pictures of my children, myself doing things not associated with marketing or pictures of stuff that I think is cool. The goal here is to reveal your personality, while at the same time relating to your customers common interests or hobbies. Here is another way to apply the 80/20 rule. Post content related to your business 80% of the time, and post personal content 20% of the time. Keep is within those limits, and you’ll be quick to notice increased engagement on both your social media pages, and your in-store conversation. People will begin to talk to you because they feel like they know you. The real you.
2) Acknowledge special dates like birthdays, anniversaries or graduations
Your first reaction will be to send a card including a sales offer or discount coupon, but that method can sometimes backfire. Unless you are giving them something for FREE, and no strings are attached, a customer may view the gesture as a way for you to lure them into your business to make a sale. I have found it best to simply say “Happy Birthday!” and end it at that. You can do this by sending a physical card, email greeting, or a short message on social media. The key is to let them know that you care without being sales focused.
3) Get out into the community
This method is by far the most time-consuming, but will yield the best results. By getting your hands dirty, and selflessly donating your time or skills to a good cause or local organization, you are building instant trust. Now don’t go and taint that new-found persona by becoming a salesman with a pair of working gloves. I’ve met a few of these in the past. They show up to do work, and end up working their jaw more than their backs. The sales pitch is never-ending, and they treat a chance to give back to their community as a dirt covered stage with no microphone. Show up, do work, make friends, take pride in the project and go home proud of your accomplishments.
4) Take notes
OK. This is going to sound a little creepy, but it’s not. I suggest you keep a small notebook full of blank pages behind your counter or desk. When you meet with a customer either as a patron of your store, or you engage with them on location while performing a service, be sure to make several little mental notes about your conversation. Did they mention an ill family member? Did they talk about a new puppy or a recent addition to the family? When you get back to the office or they leave the store, annotate in that notebook those key details that were revealed. Write down their name, the date and underneath make a few bullet points. The next time you enter into a conversation with them, bring up those talking points.
“Hey, how’s that puppy doing, a boxer right, with brown spots?”
They’ll be amazed by your memory, and will appreciate the fact that, to you, they are more than a customer, they are a person of interest and someone you may even call a friend.
P.S. We have a ton of big things coming up in the next couple of months, and I want to make sure you guys don’t miss a beat! So stay tuned to our Facebook page, and we’ll make sure everyone remains in the loop. ~Andy