There are a lot of similarities between building a successful, long term business and marriage.
Let’s look at them…
Growing a successful business depends on three things. Acquiring customers, committing them to purchasing and keeping them coming back for more. In short your relationship with your customers will have a profound impact on your business.
Marriage depends on the same things…
First you have to attract a potential mate, then start a process of gaining familiarity and trust, leading to commitment and finally you must keep the magic alive so you stay together.
Now it’s pretty unusual to ask someone to marry you on the first date. And you certainly wouldn’t pursue them so relentlessly that you become a stalker in their eyes.
But many businesses I know unwittingly do exactly this when chasing prospects.
Nobody wants to be sold to. We want to buy in our own time.
So instead of taking it nice and slow, they come across all hot and heavy, bombard them with calls, desperately wanting to sell something.
The result? Your prospect feels your desperation and runs a mile in the other direction.
So what could you do instead?
Well, what would you do with a new date?
You hold back, act coy, and invite the other party to get to know you. You don’t reveal everything about yourself at once. There’s no mystery in that!
So you give your prospect information that helps them get familiar with you, shows them you have a potential solution to their problem and invites them to take the next step – which is exploring how you can work together.
In effect you want to get to the second date.
But just like in dating, you don’t want to be chasing them. Your goal is to have them chasing you wanting to do business.
And as the familiarity moves to trust and finally a commitment, you sign the deal and get married.
And you live happily ever after.
Right! Maybe in fairy stories, but real life is somewhat different.
Keeping a long term customer is like staying married.
You could of course just let yourself go, and run the risk your partner chooses to take a hike. Just like your customers when you don’t deliver the goods or provide lousy service.
Or you can keep the magic alive on an ongoing basis by doing things that are important to your partner (read customers).
And you need to take steps to avoid drifting apart – if your partner doesn’t feel they’re having their needs met, or you just develop different interests, it’s hardly surprising that they might go somewhere else.
Then all that time and effort you spent in getting them is wasted. And the cycle begins again.