Although we’ve never had more ways to keep in touch than we do today, we live in strangely disconnected times. We spend hours at the computer, skimming our friends’ Facebook pages, but how often do we pick up the phone and call these so-called friends – or better yet, meet them for coffee? What do we really know about them besides where they checked in for lunch, or the new pants they scored at Goodwill for five bucks? Facebook posts, text message and tweets might keep you in the loop about day-to-day life, but do they really create long-lasting connections? The answer is a resounding no, and the same goes for businesses that rely too heavily on passive communications, too.
Actively connecting with your ideal clients is one of the most important elements in business; in fact, it’s the key to long-term growth and success. But sadly, in today’s fast paced environment, it’s usually the first thing we overlook. Now, I understand we’re all busy, but let’s be honest with ourselves here. If you walk into a coffee shop where the barista starts making your drink before you even reach the counter (and asks you how your latest project at work is going while she’s at it), aren’t you going to keep going back to that coffee shop – even if a Starbucks opens right next door to your office? The coffee may be just as good (if not better) at Starbucks, but you like the people at your local neighborhood joint so much that it trumps the allure of better coffee anywhere else. Not only do you know the name of each and every barista, but you know their stories, and they know yours. That’s what I call real connection, and it’s easier to create than you think.
Now, you may think you don’t have time for all this personal let’s-really-get-to-know-each-other-at-the-coffee-counter mumbo jumbo, but if you have time to tweet, you have time to meet, greet and repeat, my friend! Quick, punchy messages on Facebook and Twitter certainly have their place, but in order to really connect with today’s guarded consumer, you have to let your guard down and share your story with the people who walk through your door. You can ease into this strategy slowly with what I call the 3E Formula: Emotion, Engagement and Enthusiasm.
This Relationship Marketing trifecta will create the type of long-lasting connections that keep customers coming back. And we all know from experience that repeat customers not only spend more in your store, they’re more likely to tell their friends about you, too. Here are a few ways to get started with the Three Es to create greater value within your business today:
Channel Your Emotion – Start letting your guard down by allowing potential customers and clients to see you as a person, not just a business. Set aside your business and marketing plans and pull out a journal. Start writing about what inspired you to start your business. What influences from the past compelled you to venture down this path? Don’t just make a list of reasons – tell your story as often as you can, and to as many people as possible.
Create Engagement With Your Customers – Value-based pricing is not about the cost of your product with a standard mark-up price, it’s about engaging with your customers through outreach and education. Create a value-based pricing structure by nurturing a welcoming environment with friendly service, and helpful resources and information for your customers.
Share Your Enthusiasm – Your enthusiasm is the most direct link to inspiring action, so let people know how much you love what you do. You have a marvelous window of opportunity each and every time you interact with someone to display your enthusiasm, so don’t let it pass by. For example, I’ve seen baristas go the extra mile for a smile by topping off their lattes with fun milky-foam shapes like hearts. Now that’s showing customers the love!
And there you have it, folks – the basics behind my 3E Formula for creating connection and putting it to work for you. However you choose to get your Three Es across, just remember to be yourself and you’ll be A-OK! FBN