I read that several political hacks have predicted that the economy will bottom out by late 2009. Please tell me this: How do they know? What is “bottom?” And how long until we are at “top”?
The answer is: They have no idea — it’s empty rhetoric from people who have never had a real job, much less run a business.
I have an idea that I believe makes sense, and I’m asking you to try it a few times, and send me feedback as to your results. It has nothing to do with the “stimulus package.” It has everything to do with your “relationship package” and your “customer loyalty package.”
Here’s the idea: Spend a day at your customer’s place of business, helping them in any way you can.
Note well: One of the reasons you are hurting is because they are hurting.
This idea will work for anyone, you included. If you sell a product or a service, if you sell business-to-business or business-to-consumer, if they call on you or you call on them, this idea will work.
And it will create amazing and instant results.
Create a name for your offering: Economy Booster Service. Customer Goodwill Mission. Thank You Service to Loyal Customers. Call your best customers and ask if you can work there for a day. Free. No strings attached. Gratis. Por nada.
The concept is to help them, not sell them.
The objective is to be of genuine service. One way to define it is a “random act of kindness.” My way would be to define it as a “random act of value.”
There are huge benefits that will accrue from this gesture — and not all of them are in favor of the customer. Yes, they will benefit from your help, your skill, your input, your labor and your outside perspective. They will also get an emotional lift and a morale boost, just by you being there. But you will be the main recipient of value.
Here’s what’s in it for you:
You will get product training that comes from the people who actually use it. Imagine actual on-the-job, at-the-customer training. After a day, you will be craving more. This is certainly more valuable than a day in your classroom.
If you offer a service, you get to see what happens after the service has been performed.
You will learn how they use and profit from your product or service — not just the good stuff, but also the challenges. You will discover a wealth of opportunities, and more wisdom than you’ll know what to do with: real facts, relevant facts that you can use to make sales forever.
You will learn why they bought from you. Customer’s motives to buy are often subtle (even hidden), but they are the most valuable aspect of the selling process. You will also learn how much (or how little) your price figured into the equation. (HINT: Way less than you currently believe.)
You will build a relationship with them that goes all the way to friendship. Your customers will be so flattered, so floored and so thankful, they will be at a loss for words. Just respond with a simple: “My pleasure.”
You will eliminate competition. Do they have a chance of even getting in the door after your service?
You will also have the great feeling that being of service creates in your soul.
Alternative plan: You can sit around and complain how lousy business is or worse, make a few cold calls and annoy people who are busy with their struggle.
If your sales are slow, and you have some time to invest, why not invest it in a sure thing — your present customers. It might just get you some business, it might just get people talking about you, and it might just get you referred.
It will certainly build your reputation.
If you take Gitomer’s suggestion and spend a day helping your customers, send an e-mail update with your results to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached at (704) 333-1112 or e-mail email@example.com