Over the years we’ve worked with all sorts of technically based businesses.
One thing above all has stood out. They all believed that their technical excellence was the be all and end all and that’s what their clients wanted.
And in every case we had to work extremely hard to disabuse them of this notion and get them to accept the truth – and change.
You see, perfection in the product is not enough! Yes, your clients expect your product or service to do what you claim it will. But technology is technology and human beings are human beings – a skin bag of feeling and emotions.
Your clients want more from you. They want to know you understand them, have you interact with them and know you care about them.
So why am I writing about this today? It all came about from a conversation I had with a client last week.
We’d done a bunch of case studies and testimonials for them last October and this was essentially a call to see if they were using the material and what the results were.
“Yes, we are using the case studies in our material and you did a fabulous job, so thank you.”
He then mentioned he had moved roles within the company and a new young gun was taking over. Someone who would be concentrating more on building up a social media presence on Facebook.
Interesting. While we didn’t explore why they were going down this track, here are some of my thoughts regarding social media.
First of all, for most businesses, it can be a monumental waste of time and effort.
Yes, it’s important to keep in touch with your clients and prospects, but if you’re going to go down the social media path, you’d better have something interesting to say on an ongoing basis. The usual crap we see about “I’m now going to lunch” or some other piffle – I mean really, who cares?
The other major consideration is which media you’re going to use. Just because “everyone’s” on Facebook doesn’t mean you need to be.
If your market is primarily B2B ask yourself, are your clients hanging out on Facebook? Probably not.
And if they are, are they there to be bombarded with sales messages from you telling them how wonderful you are? Certainly not.
And as many a large business has discovered to their cost, setting up big e-commerce stores on Facebook hasn’t produced results. People are on Facebook to interact with their friends not necessarily buy stuff.
Now that doesn’t mean Facebook advertising doesn’t work. Far from it. We have clients in the B2C market who run very successful 7 figure businesses using Facebook as a major component of their lead generation mechanism. But you’ve got to do it right. And it’s not easy.
But back to my client and the rest of the conversation.
One of the things we drill into people is the 90 day rule. Coined by Wendy Evans in her seminal book, “How to get new business in 90 days and keep it forever”, she asserts that no matter how well your prospects AND customers know you, come 90 days without contact, they’ll forget you if another supplier offers something they want.
Client agreed. He recounted instances where existing customers had gone to other suppliers simply because they’d had no contact for a while.
I recounted a conversation I’d had with a printer who’d lost $500,000 worth of business from an existing client simply because said client didn’t know he could have done the job. And he’d been working with this chap for 20 years! “But why didn’t you tell me that you could do this stuff?” “I thought you knew!” Sad, isn’t it.
Our client then mentioned he really appreciated the phone call. Which led to the next revelation.
Yes, we can keep in touch via email, letters, faxes and SMS. But nothing, repeat nothing, beats picking up the phone and making personal contact.
Any form of written communication is one dimensional and one way. You have no feedback from the other person and have no idea how they’re responding.
A live conversation on the phone lets you know how you’re doing. And if you can manage it, face to face is even better. And no you don’t need to be in the same location. Video conferencing technology has come leaps and bounds – and Skype is free.
Over the years I’ve called hundreds of people who’ve downloaded our free material. In every case people have appreciated the phone call and actually made a point of telling me so. It’s the personal touch which shows you care enough to take some time to connect.
Had another example the other day. Doing a series of client interviews for a new client we found people consistently mentioned that while they loved the product and thought the service was excellent, it was completely “hands off” because everything was done via email.
These people to a person all said that they would prefer the human touch and if there was one place our client could improve, it would be there.
Which all once again proves a point. Human beings are and always will be social animals. Technology has vastly improved our lives and ability to communicate. However it’s a tool and not a substitute for meeting someone and sitting down to a meal together. Sitting down for a meal together is one of the best ways of forming and cementing relationships.
Facebook is all very well, but it comes a very poor second.
So my challenge to you is…
Figure out who you haven’t called for a while (anything over 90 days) and then pick up the phone and say hello.
And remember, your goal is not to sell something. Your goal is to connect and be interested in what’s happening in their lives. Be interested, not interesting.
Remember the old adage, “I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care”.
P.S. We love getting positive comments back from our clients. Here’s the latest feedback from a Client Survey just conducted… “The information you have gathered has been excellent.” Peter Morrissey, Time & Attendance, Sydney.
So if you haven’t yet commissioned a survey, what are you waiting for? You’ll learn what your clients’ want from you and how you can improve your business. Click here for more information.