This post is by Dawn Westerberg of Dawn Westerberg Consulting. You’ve heard me mention Dawn many times. She is a great teacher, she is passionate about business, and she practices what she preaches. In this post, Dawn reminds you how you can make sure you are putting your customers first.
This one stopped me in my tracks: More people are on the Do Not Call registry than voted in the last presidential election.
This country is absolutely united in our fervor to tune out one another’s marketing message. Avoidance wins in a landslide. Oh, Mirror in the Sky what is love, and, while you’re at it, what is a marketer to do?
Let them know that you are interested in their story before you begin telling your story. Or, put another way, get to know them first, and wait for them to ask you, “What is it again that you do?”
This really applies to anyone whose attention you want to have: prospects, customers, colleague, boss, prospective employer, influencer, Twitter friend. A sincere, gentle, appropriate curiosity is infinitely more attractive than a formulaic, hammering, forceful pitch.
On a scale of one to a hundred, if you lead with the pitch, the listening score on the part of your prospect is in the single digits if not zero. I’d be willing to bet on zero and that their thoughts are racing around devising all possible ways to detach themselves from your monologue. However, if you get to know them first, demonstrate that you are interested in their story, in their business – after they are done sharing, they are very likely to ask you “What is it again that you do?” When they ask the question, their focus is on your answer. They are actually listening. And with each follow up or clarifying question or comment, they are inching towards the right and double digit interest. Much better conditions for gaining mind share, don’t you think?
So how do you gain the information necessary to ask questions that demonstrate your sincere interest in them?
Google Alerts Set up a Google Alert on all customers, prospects and individuals as well as the industry or sector they serve. When you see something of general interest, you can send them a link with a personalized “I thought you might find this of interest” note. When you see that they have won a key account or an award, you can send a note of congratulations. When you see them quoted in an article, you can comment on the topic at hand. I really like this approach because I’ve found that 70 – 80 percent of the time they had not seen the article mentioning them or their company. It’s welcome news that lights up their day and you’re the one that brought it to their attention.
HARO, Help a Reporter Out Recently I signed up to be a “source” on this free site. Three times a day I receive summaries of the various stories reporters, writers and bloggers are seeking input. I read them first to see if any of my clients, prospects or referral partners would be qualified to respond (then I look for opportunities for me). So far, I have found three opportunities for prospects and two opportunities for clients. All five people that I contacted were very happy for the lead. Give to get.
Handwritten note I look for any opportunity to send a handwritten note. A card, hand addressed and stamped, tends to stand out from the rest of the pile. Often it is a repeat or continuation of a thought conveyed via email (with the link from my Google Alert reading or the tip on the HARO story). I include my business card in the notes. If there is an occasion for me to call instead of getting voicemail 80 percent of the time or being asked to leave a message, my call is getting through; and my handwritten note and email communications are always mentioned.
RT and a #FF It is a small kindness to ReTweet or give a Follow Friday mention on Twitter. Most of the time, the folks who are on my lists are new or not so active on Twitter. I look for their Tweets and look to provide encouragement in this very easy way.
Referral Because I do a lot of homework on the business of my contacts, I’m always on the lookout to provide them with referrals. Granted these opportunities are few and far between, but when you are actively looking for these opportunities, youíd be surprised how many instances present themselves.
Margie has written a lot about The 7 Habits here, and this post is probably an example of making deposits into the emotional bank account. More importantly, your relationships have at their foundation an attitude of service. What are the ways you demonstrate that you are willing to listen and learn in order to develop relationships?
Image Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/amminopurr