Recently I went through the “fun” of moving from a house I lived in for over 20 years to a new house. Aside from having to go through 20 years of collected stuff, I had the distinct “pleasure” of interacting with a variety of different businesses and business owners, including
- Real estate agent
- Moving company
- Landscaping company
- Flooring company
- Pressure washing company
- Pool maintenance company
- Roofing company
- Remodeling company
- Cable company
Frankly, my experiences with most of them was less than stellar and unfortunately indicative of the typical mode of operation of so many business owners.
- Missed calls
- Missed deadlines
- Clueless employees
- Not doing what they said they would do
- Damaging things
- Not following-up after the sale to see if I was happy
And the list goes on.
I am sure you have similar stories to tell and for the astute business owners (e.g. anybody reading this article), these modes of operation give so much opportunity to differentiate your business and put it in a category of one.
What amazes me so much is that the difference between a mediocre experience and an exceptional experience is typically less about the services provided and more about the experience itself.
Owning and running a business doesn’t have to be hard and there are so many different and EASY ways you can be exceptional and not “typical.”
As a matter of fact, I am going to share what I think is a rather profound, but super-simple way to accomplish this and to do this, I must first pay homage to my maternal grandmother, Mary Flanagan.
My grandmother, or as I called her Nana, is pictured above along with me at my high school graduation. While she is no longer with me in a physical way, the memory of her being a loving and caring grandmother will never leave me. My hope is once you see the connection between my Nana and your business, the ideas I am sharing will never leave you.
[Now maybe you don’t have as fond a memory of a wonderful grandmother as I do, but I am sure there is somebody important to you that you hold near and dear to your heart. Substitute that person for this exercise.]
Imagine if every business you are a customer, patient or client of, treated you with the respect, caring and helpful attitude typically shown to a beloved grandmother.
Can you see the profound impact that could have?
The same for your business. Imagine if you treated every lead, prospect and customer as if he or she was your grandmother; what things would need to change to make that a reality?
Every lead must be captured, every prospect must be nurtured, every customer must be cared for, coddled, protected, and shown appreciation in every way; requiring greater than ever investment and greater than ever diligence.
Most business owners don’t do this. Most businesses treat their leads, prospects and customers as expendable commodities.
Smart business owners treat each of these audiences as profitable assets that deserve to be treated like a beloved grandmother.
Time is of the essence, and if you are not doing this in your business, it is urgent to reorganize your thinking, your business, your staff, your marketing, your day-to-day management of your affairs and your relationships with these various audiences.
Since I am all about practical and easy-to-implement ideas, I want to offer five “Nana Strategies” you can use in your business to make people feel special and to differentiate your business.
#1: Be Helpful with Valuable Information and Guidance
All former Boy Scouts know the importance of being helpful and an instant mental picture of helping somebody’s grandmother across the street comes to mind. I want you to do the same thing in your business and help leads and prospects “across the street” and becoming customers by offering helpful information FIRST!
In this day and age, with so many technology barriers removed, you have ample opportunity to easily provide helpful information to your leads and prospects which helps them navigate the minefields of whatever it is you do. What if your own grandmother came to you and asked you for advice on whatever products or services you provide. However you would answer and guide her, is what you want to do with your information.
You can create tip sheets, short books, online videos or DVDs. You can host seminars and workshops, you can have live chat on your web site, a free strategy session, etc.
The point is to treat somebody, not like a nameless, faceless entity, but instead like your grandmother, who is seeking your advice and guidance. Nobody in their right mind would treat their grandmother with rudeness, sleazy sales tactics or in-difference.
#2: Create an Interesting Experience
Because Nana lived about two hours away, every time she and my grandfather visited, it was a special event. We got our home ready and I was typically kicked out of my bedroom and had to sleep somewhere else. Their visits were always a special, warm experience, that I still remember decades later.
Your goal should be to do the same thing in your business. Your Interesting Experience is something that prospects, customers and fans can only get from you. It should be unique and engaging for your various audiences.
For bricks and mortar businesses, it could be something as simple as a customer lounge with complimentary food and beverages, or a kid-zone where kids can play while parents shop. Maybe it’s a “Fan Zone” where you have pictures of happy customers.
For face-to-face businesses, it could be you show up in some unique and different way, that nobody else is doing or leaving a unique gift upon your exit.
The goal is to create a powerful, positive and lasting impact with everybody you have contact with.
#3: Minimize Risk with an Incredible Guarantee
As I got older, protecting my grandmother from harm and risk was a top priority. You should do the same thing for customers by providing as much risk-removal and minimization around your products or services as possible. One smart way to do this is with an Incredible Guarantee.
Your guarantee (albeit a product or service one) should be one of the foundational components of your marketing and business strategies. If you don’t have one – you need one. And if you do have one, this is the perfect time to revisit it to ensure it’s doing everything you need it to do.
An Incredible Guarantee is not optional. Maybe at one point in time having a guarantee was not mandatory, but those days are long gone. Every ethical and customer-oriented business owner needs to develop a strong, compelling guarantee to help your prospects feel safe and fully protected when investing in your products or services.
The whole point of your Incredible Guarantee is to remove as much perceived risk from the purchase of your product or service as possible. I say “perceived” because even if you believe there are absolutely ZERO concerns with your product or service, it doesn’t matter because it only matters what your prospect, customer, client or patient thinks. By removing as much of the risk as possible, you’re letting people know you’re a reliable and ethical business owner, who truly has their best interests at heart and will stand-by whatever it is you’re selling.
4: Delight With Random Acts of WOW!
Creating WOW! experiences has less to do with how much you spend and more to do with being intentional and thoughtful about what you’re doing. It also takes a commitment and a personal “vow to WOW!” mantra by yourself and all team members.
Goes back to the Golden Rule we were all taught growing up. Treat others as you would like to be treated. Random acts of WOW! are things you create, plan, and implement into your sales and
delivery process, that appear random, but are in fact quite intentional.
These acts of WOW! need not be big and expensive efforts, but should be small, thoughtful actions, gifts, etc. to express gratitude and get your customers to rave about you and your business.
#5: It’s Your Job to Remember
There is a saying you should print out and post all over your store/office/building….
“It’s not my lead/prospect/customer’s job to remember me. It is my job to remember them.”
So many business owners forget this simple fact, and if they followed this simple rule, their business and profits would soar.
Nobody likes to be forgotten and when a business owner doesn’t return a phone call, or send an estimate or check-in after the sale, it’s not acceptable.
Much like a simple phone call to my grandmother on her birthday, we all like to be remembered and appreciated.
The Bottom Line – Treat Leads, Prospects, Customers and Fans Like You Would Treat Your Grandmother
My goal with this article is to offer you a fresh way to look at how you are interacting with the various audiences you serve in your business. Much like a mnemonic device helps you memorize a complex idea easily, picturing a beloved grandmother and deciding to treat your leads, prospects, customers and fans as your grandmother can provide a fundamental shift in the way you interact and profit.
Your thoughts? Leave a comment below…