How to Attract More Customers to Your Business: 4 Realities that Will Transform Your Marketing
- Reality #1: Your Customers are Frustrated (sometimes even in pain).
- What your customers want you to do: empathize with them first and help them put words around their problem.
- What you want to do but shouldn’t: fix the problem for a price right now.
- Reality #2: Your Customers Want More Information.
- What customers want you to do: give them information that they can understand.
- What you want to do but shouldn’t: leverage their ignorance to coerce them to buy.
- Reality #3: Your Customers Have Trust Issues.
- What customers want you to do: create value to earn trust.
- What you want to do but shouldn’t: criticize the customer and the competition.
- Reality #4: Your Customers Want to Experience Collaboration.
Attracting customers takes emotional intelligence. It requires compassion and perspective. Entrepreneurs can spend millions on marketing and go nowhere. And then another entrepreneur in the same industry can spend $2 and turn it into a multi-billion dollar business.
In many respects, the “secret sauce” is understanding that your business isn’t about you. Successful entrepreneurs have learned to not take this personally.
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Travis Biggert, Chief Sales Officer at HUB International Mid-America
Reality #1: Your Customers are Frustrated (sometimes even in pain).
Attracting customers begins with immersing yourself in the problems of your customers. Starting here will help you do business differently by relating to your customers and speaking to them and about them more intuitively.
Being an entrepreneur is developing yourself to better understand and address the problems of your customers. You need to hear what they are saying in their own words. Wherever possible, you should try to see the world from their perspective.
What you want to do but shouldn’t: fix the problem for a price right now.
As you begin to assimilate feedback from customers about their problems, it will become very hard to not jump at each and every opportunity to pitch them your business. But you must resist this urge at first. Your customers’ problems are primarily about them. And there does not yet exist a real opportunity for your business to jump and save the day.
Recognize that your customers are on a journey (a buyer’s journey, to be more specific). If you do not allow them to work through their journey on their timetable, you may be doing them and yourself a disservice. So be there to listen and help them through the journey.
But you must understand that customers need time to process their problems. More than that, they want to understand many of the factors contributing to their problems. This makes them feel empowered, and empowered customers will always be your best and most loyal customers.
What your customers want you to do: empathize with them first and help them put words around their problem.
Attracting more customers to your business means making patience and compassion a key part of your marketing and sales process.
Your customers want experts (especially the self-professed experts) to let them talk about their problems and then be a sounding board. So before you ever pitch yourself and your business, take a minute to validate their perspective. When appropriate, give them vivid words to describe the problems they are having.
Demonstrate that you care about them and their problem. Collaborate with them about why their problems are what they are. You don’t have to marinate in their misery: they will move faster through the buyer's journey if they can feel satisfied in knowing how to describe their problems.
And by the way, it is often while you’re empathizing with your customers that you arrive at ways to make your products/services better. Most of your competitors will zip through empathizing with their customers. If you take a little extra time, you will learn a great deal that will make your business top-notch.
Reality #2: Your Customers Want More Information.
Even after attracting more customers and empathizing with them, you will scare them off if you come on strong. But once they know that you care, you can begin educating your customer and brainstorming solutions.
While many great sales and marketing experts begin carefully pitching their business at this point, it's much better to focus on educating the customer.
What you want to do but shouldn’t: leverage their ignorance to coerce them to buy.
As you learn more about customers in their own words, you will quickly realize that their world is small, particularly in the realm you operate (your industry). More than likely, they are hurting as much as they are because they know very little about how to solve their problems.
It can be very tempting, then, to leverage that ignorance to coerce them into spending money with you. Many salespeople are notorious for allowing their customers to wallow in their ignorance so that they feel desperate for a savior. While there are some circumstances where this will happen organically, manufacturing the need for a savior will come back to bite you later.
What customers want you to do: give them information that they can understand.
The Information Age has accelerated both customer affluence and a stronger appetite for great content. Businesses that leverage this development catch customers early on in their buyers’ journey with informational blogs, videos, podcasts, webinars, and more.
For example, help clients troubleshoot simple issues that they shouldn’t have to pay for. Give customers relevant industry information that helps them see how you are the expert.
Some of the finest customer-centric, informational content is done through business blogging and vlogging.
If you have a good writer on your staff, have them begin producing online content on a consistent schedule. To make your content marketing more potent, you can discuss with or hire content marketing strategists to optimize your content for search engines.
Currently, the finest marketing strategy to attract customers involves content marketing in one form or another. Content marketing challenges businesses to educate their customers, and the customers are loving it!
Reality #3: Your Customers Have Trust Issues.
Until they know that you care and can empower them to solve their problems, customers deep down don’t believe a lot of what you’re telling them.
The United States, in particular, faces a trust crisis between people and organizations claiming to help them.
What you want to do but shouldn’t: criticize the customer and the competition.
I hear it all the time.
Sometimes I have to openly (but politely) correct my clients for speaking ill of the customer.
Often, I overhear it at a store between managers and subordinates.
Customer ignorance can get to us at times. When we push customers a little too hard, they might get feisty and accuse your business of things that are completely unfair. But criticizing the customer, even through passive-aggressive comments, is just ineffective.
When you criticize your customer, you’ve decided that the company is “us” and the customer is “them.” It is a competition that you mean to win rather than a problem your customer needs help solving. Collaboration is gone. If the sale goes down, it won’t be pretty, and at some point, you'll wish that they had never become your client in the first place.
Neither is it okay to criticize the competition. Why? Because until the customer knows better, they equate you with your competition. You and your competitors are all representatives from the same industry. And in whatever ways you chip away at their trust in the competition, they will secretly let that chip away trust in you, too.
So don’t be judgmental or defensive. Just listen to what the customer has to say, even if you’re going to have to make up for how your competitors made your customer’s life a little harder.
What customers want you to do: create value to earn trust.
One of the best ways to earn trust is to return to a carefully planned content marketing strategy. Your customers are hungry for informational content: so give it to them! Offer it in conversation, social media, and on your website.
Wherever you can find a way to give away value to your customers free of charge, do it. It is not necessary for you to give away your products/services, but it is necessary that you demonstrate to your clients that you have value to give. And the value you give is worth every penny.
Overcome the trust hurdle by earning it rather than demanding it.
Reality #4: Your Customers Want to Experience Collaboration.
As I said before, your clients want to feel empowered to solve their problems.
Even when they pay you money, the way you “sold” them can make all the difference when they feel that they played a valuable role in overcoming challenges.
What you want to do but shouldn’t: focus only on the transaction and product/service.
When you’ve shaken hands and closed the sale, your job collaborating with the customer is not done - it's just started.
Many businesses get tunnel vision during and just after the close. Often, this happens because you are obsessing over delivering a finished product/service that meets your high standards.
While delivering quality products/services is important, getting tunnel sometimes creates confusion for your customers. If you “go dark” with your customers without giving them a heads up about how your process works, they could feel that you abandoned them after taking their money.
Especially for your first-time clients, they truly don’t know what to expect.
Sometimes, customers find that they need help using your products/services. If they can’t get help from you about their purchase, they’re likely to regret their purchase and resent you for convincing them to buy.
What customers want you to do: give them a voice before, during, and after the sale.
Manage your customers’ expectations on the front end. If your product/service requires a time frame for delivery, include them in updates so that they can see the progress. The best way to do this is through some kind of onboarding process.
Offer more educational content to help them make the most of their purchase. Follow-up with them after their purchase to find out how you can continue to serve them. Who knows: you may have more products to sell and empower them.
Delight your customers by being there for them every step of the way.
In conclusion, remember that your business’s success is a team effort between you and the customer. Don’t force your brand on them: use quality content and onboarding to educate them about solutions and your industry.
Placing a stronger emphasis on attracting your customers in this manner will increase your sales as well as ease some of the pressure for your sales team.
Collaborate with your customers as soon as they begin to realize that they have a problem. And in the words of Amit Ray,
Collaboration has no hierarchy. The Sun collaborates with soil to bring flowers on the earth.