Fundamentals – Revisited

As Ferris Bueller said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

You can also get so involved in the now, that fundamentals can sometimes become blurred in the day to day.

So on Friday afternoon I though it a good time to just reiterate a few essentials when working in this fast moving world…

1. Listen

Before you can take a step forward, take some time to listen to what people are saying about you, your brand, your products, your competitors etc etc. If you want to know how to listen, we should talk!

In fact the best way to visualise what good listening means is to consider the following scenario:

You, or rather your brand, has just arrived a cocktail party. You’re welcomed by enthusiastic guests who love your work! They can’t help but rush to tell you how much they adore you (there’s a lot of company Facebook pages like this!). The odd guest might have a slight niggle about something, but you can deal with that. So you thank everyone and at a certain time you make your excuses and leave (there are a lot of company Twitter pages like this!!)

In fact doesn’t this sound a lot like customer review tools? Feefo and the like?

But what you didn’t notice were the other guests at the party who spotted you across the crowded room. And of course these guests had their opinions too. They did what we all do, they talked about you behind your back!

This is where the richest source of gossip is to be found!

So listen to the people talking about you, not just to you!

2. Social is something you are, not something you do

How many times do you hear marketing bods ask “Oh yes, we’re doing a lot on social media now”? Of course they probably mean, “we’re pushing out offers on Facebook”.

That’s just selling. The fact it’s on Facebook doesn’t make it social.

So quite simply, stop being a carpetbagger and be human. Be the customer and consider what they’d expect.

3. The opposite of love is indifference

Salmon P. Chase served under Abraham Lincoln but always harboured ambitions for the Presidency himself. However, whereas Lincoln was a master at cultivating relationships with apparent enemies, Chase lacked the charm or natural inclination to relate easily to people. As a consequence he lacked the support of those closest to him, even in his own state of Ohio. After failing to secure enough support to run for the presidency, Chase lamented, “I think the hardest kind of death to die is that occasioned by indecisive, or lukewarm friends”.

And so it is with customers. Those who simply leave you without a complaint or a rant In fact those who do rant are manna from heaven! You can always over deliver in compensating these people. Far more dangerous to the health of your business are those who just stop buying and disappear.

By focusing on nurturing relationships with customers, your best ones, you can help to make the hole in your bucket of customers smaller. Not just by throwing more and more discounts at them, but by talking to them about things that matter to them.

And how do you find out what matters to them?

You could always start listening….

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