Last week, both Seth Godin and I urged our readers to not use the current economic woes as an excuse to pull the covers up over our business heads and hide in fear. “When everyone else is being super-cautious, this is the time for business to move from good to great. When everyone else is pulling their heads in, poke yours out. Get noticed. Rise above the pack,” I wrote.
As others hunker down, we have an opportunity to stand out, to get noticed. As they hide, the marketing clatter lessens, making space for our messages to get through. Look, doing business is always a risk. Unless you are in Securities or Financial Services, this is no time to become extra conservative. Our clients and customers continue to want and need what we have. See this as an opportunity to reach out to them and offer them greater value than normal, immediately exceeding their expectations.
To current and former clients offer discounts. To new clients, throw in a freebie. Extend your guarantee. Do whatever is smart to grow your business. Although I normally never offer discounts, in times of fear doing so rewards your best customers. And that really is the point I want to hammer home.
Customers don’t want to talk to your products and services. I argue they don’t buy your products and services: They buy you. Show your human side. Understand their economic concerns and relate to them. Demonstrate that not only can you provide solutions, you also can provide extra value because you empathize with their concerns.
Remember, it always is about them, not us. Show your clients and customers you get it. Here are a few suggestions how:
* Send thank you notes to current customers and ask them how (or suggest how) you can help.
* Reach out to potential customers with value-added solutions.
* When you network, listen, ask if you can help and offer free advice.
* Treat every customer as if they are your only customer.
* Check up on former customers and clients to ask how they and their business are doing. Ask how you can help.
* Be sincere, giving, appreciative and positive. It isn’t about short-term profits but long-term relationships.
* Be human. Customers don’t want to do business with your product; they want to do business with you
What do you think? Am I nuts? Just plain wrong? What are you doing during these difficult economic times?