Turning visitors into fans should be an ongoing goal for your business because about 80% of small business owners gain new customers from referrals. So the stronger your relationship is with your customers, the more you can grow your customer base.
But…you have to figure out how to get people to talk about your skills or your company’s products, be that in person or indirectly on Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, LinkedIn, etc. The more people that share information about your company with their friends, the more likely you will tip like a domino into someone when they need your help.
It’s easier for you to develop a connection with a new customer when the conversation about your company’s products or services came from one of their trusted friends.
The Power of Referrals
Developing a personal connection with your customers is hard to measure, but you will know when it happens. They actually look forward to buying from you and they tell their friends about you. Encouraging both online and offline conversations about you and your company is what a good connection campaign is all about.
Have you ever had a friend introduce you to a group of people when you’ve been out together? The group was most likely pretty friendly because this is how we’ve grown up behaving.
In contrast, have you ever tried introducing yourself to a crowd? It’s a lot harder to grab their interest.
I just found out from a client who wanted help with his web site’s landing page that he had seen a post on Facebook by someone he knew that linked to an article on my blog about landing pages. He liked what he read and so he contacted me for help.
A referral at the right time – whether directly in person or indirectly online – is how your sales can be increased.
It’s great to give amazing service, but how you do this can make a big difference. Take a close look at what endears you to your customer, and let it be the point of connection.
There are 3 main ways to develop your personal connection with your customers:
- Create a lasting memory.
- Be inspirational.
- Fix mistakes you’ve made.
Each one of these emotional connection points develops the story your customer tells to themselves when they think of you.
We’ll talk more about how each one works to create a connection, what you can do to leverage them, and the one thing that ruins the “domino effect” of referrals no matter how good your story feels to them.
The best place to start in order to find out what endears you to your customers is to ask your current customers what they think of when you say “insert your company name here)”.
I created a survey like this for my company, and you can view it and submit your answer here. (Believe me, I read everyone of them and I appreciate the feedback, so please take a couple minutes for the survey.)
So, let’s dive into the details of creating the 3 emotional connection points.
1. Create a Lasting Memory
Have you ever gone back to a restaurant and ordered the same meal you had before because it was so good?
Most of us have. We do this because we want to recreate that experience of having a great meal. We want to sense those wonderful tastes and ambience, and we hope that having the same meal will recreate our prior wonderful experience.
If you had a great experience at a restaurant, the memory will endure them to you for many trips. If they fail to recreate that experience the next time you go there, you will probably give them another shot because you want that experience to happen again.
Your company needs to create some type of memorable experience that exceeds your customers’ expectations. Using your core values to help spark this experience is a great starting point for people to find an emotional connection with your company.
So, my question to you is: what could you do to create a memorable experience that turns people into loyal fans?
2. Be Inspirational
Out of the three ways to create a personal connection, being inspirational is the most underutilized. One of the masters of inspiration was Apple’s. Steve Jobs. He was a master storyteller that could ignite even the smallest idea into something great.
I’m not talking just about his ability to innovate, but his ability to spark inspiration in his customers.
Here is a list of Apple’s inspirational slogans from the early 1980’s to 2002:*
“Soon there will be 2 kinds of people. Those who use computers, and those who use Apples.” (Early 1980s)
“The Computer for the rest of us” (1984)
“The Power to Be Your Best” (1990)
“Think different.” (1997–2002)
*These slogans were found on Wikipedia.
My least favorite slogan is the one from 1990, and that was during Jobs’ time away from Apple. He came back in 1997 and came up with “Think different.” Which is the one that started the process of me leaving Windows and migrating to Apple.
I remember watching these commercials and wanting an Apple even though I used Windows-based machines. I was a creator and I wanted a computer that was built for me.
You can see these slogans don’t talk about how good the company is, but how we can be better creators. We all like to think of ourselves as creative people, and the ones that believe they are gravitate toward Apple computers.
So, my next question to you is: What can you do to inspire people to be better versions of themselves?
3. Fix Mistakes You’ve Made
We all make mistakes, but it’s how we fix them that truly helps build our connection with our clients.
Think back to the last time a company made a mistake that affected you, and how they reacted. Their reaction tipped you one way or another – toward fandom or dislike.
For example, I recently had an issue using some gift cards with Southwest Airlines, who are famous for delivering great customer service. I had five $50 gift cards to redeem, but the travel agent I spoke with at Southwest airlines said they could only accept three cards at a time in their system.
I was hoping that they would take my information down and call me back after they fixed the issue. That didn’t happen.
I had to call back, and it was during a big Midwest snowstorm, so their lines were very busy. I was frustrated that they didn’t call me back, that I was on hold for what seemed like forever, and that they hadn’t solved my problem.
Eventually, I was able to talk to someone who was very creative and helpful. She bought one flight with three of the cards, then she refunded my money and applied it to the flight I wanted, which enabled me to use the two remaining gift cards for my flight. She made me quite happy.
Because I had already filed a complaint online the day before, I also received a follow-up phone call, and they apologized for the inconvenience that I went through, which was nice.
Now if they had truly wanted to leave me with a sweet memory after the hassle I endured trying to redeem my gift cards, they would have thrown me a low-cost bone like a free drink on my next flight. This would have cost them a pittance, and I would have felt like they truly felt sorry for the difficulties I went through.
So, final question to you is: How do you fix your mistakes and make people feel extra special when things don’t go quite right?
As I talked about in the beginning of this blog post on developing your personal connection with your customers, none of this will work without one essential element.
That element is:
Your Domino Effect is dependent on people feeling happy at each and every stage of the buying process. If one element is incongruent and doesn’t make them happy, they will stop the buying process and probably never come back.
So take a look at every stage of your sales funnel and begin to dissect where people fall off and how you can get each domino back into the right alignment so they fall into place.
This comes back to measuring your companies strengths and weaknesses as best you can, persistently trying to fix your systems and adjusting your processes until you see the results that you desire.
Which element do you think would be most powerful for your business? (Share in the comment section below. Thank you!)
P.S. Need help improving your personal connection with your customers? Let’s talk. You can reach me at my contact page and I’ll get back to faster than my dog wolfs down her food.