Caring about customers seems like second nature to me. I don’t really spend a lot of time thinking about it.
But I find that “caring” means different things to different people.
Frankly, it’s not enough to say you care and it’s not enough to feel that you care.
You actually have to take action.
You need to show you care.
I’ve found that by following these simple “rules” I receive more leads for awesome customers regularly.
And, in case you’re wondering… I’ve used these same practices for over 20 years.
1. Discipline: Enough said.
2. Be on time: Show up on time, no one wants to wait for you. When people say, “it’s okay” when you show up late… it’s not okay. And if you can’t be on time, communicate. I generally give people 15 minutes then I leave. My time is valuable, so is yours, respect it.
3. Honor your work time: If you have business hours like 8-5 then be open at 8:00 am. And if there’s no one around at 4:45 pm, then sit there for 15 minutes until it’s 5:00 pm. I can’t tell you how many times I had people waiting for me at 7:50 am and stopping in at 4:59 pm. I get you want to go home. But consider this – you might win over a customer and feed your back account.
4. Keep your word: If you agree to a deadline, don’t miss the deadline. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the stories of people waiting days, weeks, months for something they were promised. I get that you can get busy, but if you KNOW that you can’t meet the deadline, be honest. Customers like the known, not the unknown. If you tell them you can’t get to them for a month, then they can decide to wait or not. Many times people are more than willing to wait. But when you promise Friday when you really can’t do it until 3 weeks from now… customers get upset; they just want to know what to expect. Worse yet, you’ll begin to cultivate a reputation and that will keep customers from coming back.
5. Respond: Be as responsive as possible, people love to feel like they matter and responding promptly lets them know that they matter. I will admit that sometimes I actually wait at least 15 minutes before responding because I don’t want to look desperate LOL. If I’m in front of my computer and I see a message from a customer, I respond. Now if I’m in the middle of something that will take ramp up time or research to answer, then my response time is different. And if it will take me more than 24 hours to get an answer, I let the person know that I’m working on it. But when I can, I respond quickly. I will tell you that I have never ever had someone say… “Wow, that was too fast.” In fact, most of the time folks say, “Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.” I hate waiting for a response, so I follow the golden rule… “do unto others”.
6. Be loyal: If a client is paying you money for a service, then be loyal to your client. They can spend their money any number of places and if they choose to spend it with you, respect it. I remember years ago standing up for my customer at the race track, I thought he was unfairly penalized. I didn’t make me a fan with the competitors or race officials. But that customer stayed a customer for years. And ultimately, those competitors wanted someone to stand up for them too. Whenever possible, support your customers. Give kudos. Share their services and events. They will thank you with their loyalty.
7. Listen: Which is a nice way of saying “Stop Talking”. Sometimes you need to shut up and let people say what they need to say. Do your best not to interrupt even when you feel like the customer is “mansplaining”. They don’t know what you know. They do know that they want to be heard and understood. After 11 years running an automotive business I still got ‘splained to about how to change brakes or what the car really needed and how it needed to be done. No problem. Unless someone is rude, let them say what they need to.
8. Patience: Give things time to work. If you try a new marketing method and it doesn’t immediately net results, give it a chance to work. Nothing works overnight. I’ve heard some negativity recently from someone who was convinced something wouldn’t work for her business. She was given lots of suggestions and each time she shot down the person saying, “I was told that before, that won’t work for me.” Maybe not. But did she try it? Or just decide it wouldn’t work? And if she did try the ideas, did she give them time to work? Give things sufficient time to take root. Traction comes with patience.
9. Know your customer: Some marketing and management methods won’t work for your business and most of the time it’s because you are using methods that you haven’t taken the time to research. You really need to know your customer, you need to know what they want and what they need, you need to know how they want to hear what you have to say. Without bothering to know… you’ll struggle. Recently, I was at a Meetup. A woman there sold a product for women. She asked for suggestions on reaching her clients using video. I listened to all the suggestions and then finally interrupted. I asked one question, “Who is your customer? Your buyer?” She looked at me and said, “Well, 90% are men buying for wives and girlfriends.” None of the suggestions made up to that moment targeted men… just women. It was much easier, then, to begin to think about how to reach male buyers. Know your customer people!
10. Stop complaining: This is a big one. If you’re complaining, then you aren’t taking action. Not enough clients… stop complaining and get out in front of your prospects. Not enough money… stop complaining – work more, charge more, go get more clients.
Here’s the thing… I could list 50 more things you could do to get Red Hot leads, but the biggest issue, the one I hear the most, is whining. Yup. Complaining instead of doing the things that need to be done.
Success doesn’t come from easy.
I’ve been there, it can be tough when things aren’t going your way, you just want to vent. But I follow my “15-minute rule”…
Feel bad for 15 minutes and then snap out of it!
As an introvert, networking has always been my least favorite thing. But I’ve been diligent in doing it, not as consistently as I should, but I’m doing it.
And, it’s paid off, slowly.
I’m busier than I’ve ever been. It’s taken several months to get traction but I’ve been patient and the results are showing.
When those new clients arrive, I work the list above and it nets new referrals regularly.
Work the list above and you, too, will start to see results.