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Four Ways To Lead With Customers

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Marketing has always been a challenge for me, although I am learning so many ways to overcome my fears. Sometimes when we get an obstacle stuck in our heads, it can take extra focus to jump over it. So what I have tried to do is not look at marketing as an overwhelming activity, but rather as a way to share and connect with others. In fact, I now realize that when I talk to people informally or have discussions with my clients about leadership, I am actually marketing.

Many of us know that our greatest lessons learned happen in non-traditional places. I was having a hair process (you guess which one) done this week, and got involved in a deep conversation with the operator. I have known her for years and we always exchange personal stories but this time we started to talk about the needs of her customers. I became fascinated, because I am after all, one of her loyal customers. As she told me about all the ways she kept up in the industry, including conferences and training, it became apparent there was a culture of learning in this shop. Every person who works there, including the owner, values attending courses and gaining knowledge about the newest techniques and products.

She went on to tell me about the type of customers she had, from their personalities to their hair types. She told them that the clientele expected the operators to keep up with the trends. I couldn’t believe how much thought went into her understanding of her clients. But she nailed it! She knew who we were and what we wanted to remain loyal customers.

Here are four tips that may help you lead your marketing efforts:

1. Dump the Hard Sell for Sharing 

What I have learned to be true is that I am not a door-to-door salesperson. I am not comfortable cold calling or even being pushy at network events. The best way for me to share myself is through helping others. Listening to people’s challenges at work and coming up with ways to empower them to lead, can be a very effective marketing strategy.

2. Know Who Your Customers Are

It is critical to have a clear understanding of who your customer is and what they are all about.

  • Learn what they value
  • Research their workplace cultures
  • Are they located in big cities or smaller communities?
  • Do they work in larger or smaller organizations?
  • Do they work from home?
  • What networks do your customers typically connect with?
  • Are they predominantly in certain industries?
  • Get a feel for who they are not
     

3. Know What Your Customers Want

Once you know the demographics of your customer, focus in on their particular needs. Ask yourself and them what challenges they are facing and if you have the best background to help them. Sometimes I will speak to a potential client and either realize I can work easily with them or we are like oil and water. But recognizing that early on can prove invaluable. Strategically listen to their concerns and don’t just sell your services or products.

4. Delight Customers Through Storytelling

The best way to connect with people is through stories that demonstrate how you have helped others in the same way or with similar challenges. Just rattling off referral names, which are definitely important, isn’t always the best approach. Our potential clients need to hear about how we work with others, our style and how we share our ideas.

  • Set up a face to face conversation in a Google hangout or Skype
  • Offer a free first consult
  • Never brag or be too full of yourself
  • Remind them that other people and organizations are experiencing similar challenges
     

How do you lead with customers? What are some of your best marketing strategies?

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