~~Turning Traditional On Its Head
3 Strategies To Radically Engage Your Customers
Guest Post by Meridith Powell
I love being a motivational speaker for so many reasons (and believe me there are many) but the best has to be the time you get, after your keynote, to talk one-on-one with your amazing audience members. Their enthusiasm for your message, their desire for personal growth, and their willingness to share their stories, just gets me motivated to jump up there and do it all over again. In addition, they have the best ideas, and I learn so much from my audience members. So, in an effort to pay-it-forward, I want to, right here – right now – share a terrific idea I learned just last week.
I was speaking in Las Vegas, Nevada, doing a motivational keynote on how to make this economy start working for you. Now I am all about getting my audiences up, active and involved, so as part of this motivational keynote, we did a series of funny scenarios about how the path to profitability is through the customer experience; driving home just how much control customers have in today’s market place.
After my session, I was signing books, laughing with attendees, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed this one man, who had been in my session, kind of standing off to the side. It was obvious he was waiting to talk with me, and I was curious why, since he was among one of the first to the book signing table. When I caught his eye, I motioned for him to come on over, and he just put his hand up and gave that half-smile, you know the look, that small gesture that said, “no I am happy to wait.”
As the line got close to the end he finally stepped up, gave me a big hug like he was unable to control his excitement, introduced himself as Ralph and asked if he could share a new idea about engaging customers. Now there is nothing I love better than a new idea, and this poor man had waited such a long time, I was kind of on the edge of my seat wondering what he had to say.
Ralph started to talk about customer engagement, and I thought (keeping the words in my head) that is not a new idea, but I continued to listen anyway. Just to clarify here, so we are all on the same page, the definition of customer engagement, is the skill of connecting your customers to your brand and your values; ensuring they feel like they belong to your company. An important part of the sales process, but certainly not new.
Not new, until my “friend Ralph” started to put his spin on it. He shared that he was a graphic designer, using very high tech equipment and innovative design techniques that produced amazing results with a much higher quality than his competitors. The downside was this made him much more expensive than other graphic designers, and when the economy started to shift, he started getting losing a lot of business simply on price. Losing that is until he started engaging his customers in the process, engaging them in a very new and innovative way.
He began with those customers he currently has, those that were dedicated and loyal to him no matter the price or the economy. He began with them, and took that relationship to a whole new level, doing so much more than traditionally engaging them.
Instead he started getting his customers active and involved in his work, creating a real team effort. Rather than just asking questions and listening to what they wanted and creating the design, he showed them how he did it. Letting them see first-hand how his shop was different, and very high tech with this new and innovative equipment. As they watched him design, he told them to get out their smart phones, video him while he was designing their new logos, their new brand. He encouraged them to share on Facebook, Twitter and Google +the multiple graphic design options he gave them. Telling them to get their fans and customers active in voting and saying what they like
Best of all, when the projects were complete he had so much more than a customer he had created a true team member, a member of his community and an advocate armed with amazing experience to easily spread the word about his business.
One of my messages as a motivational speaker, is to always remember, people support what they help create, and making people part of the process is key to making them feel listened to, heard and cared about. That is what is so brilliant about Ralph’s idea, he accomplished all three by creating the ultimate customer engagement method.
Now, not one to leave a good idea on the table, I asked Ralph if he would spend a few more minutes with me hammering out his idea. Never one to lose out on an opportunity to share a great idea, I wanted Ralph and I to brainstorm a set of steps that anyone could do, anyone who was looking for new ideas to make this economy start working for them.
3 Strategies to Radically Engage Your Customers
Tell don’t ask – by nature, we as humans are hesitant to get engaged or involved, so if you ask your customers take a photo, observe you doing something, more often than not, they will say no. So take a lesson from Ralph, he did not ask, he just told them to do it. With upbeat, positive energy he got them excited to be part of the process, and when he told them to get out their smart phones they jumped at the chance. If you want to fully engage your customers you have to tell them to do so, not ask.
Give ‘em a role – now your customers are busy, just like you, they have more to do than they can possibly get done. In addition, you have a job to do, and you really don’t need a second in command telling you how to do it. So, again, take a lesson from Ralph, and engage your customers by giving them a role, a specific job to do and way to get involved. Ralph told his customers to take a photo, make a video and share it on social networking. Short, sweet and easy, but oh so powerful. If you want to more fully engage your customers, then give them a role.
Reward The Team – the team both you and your customers are on that is. Once the service is complete, the product is done, even though you did the bulk of the work you must remember it was a team effort. The reward and recognition goes to the team! Ralph posts his design on his website, the walls of his office and labels them “as creation by” and then adds his customer’s name than his. This gives his customers pride in ownership, something to talk about, and a strong desire to pay more for what they can control. If you want to fully engage your customers than reward the team at the end of every project.
Yes I love being a motivational speaker for so many reasons, and my favorite is engaging with my audiences. Meeting Ralph was truly a highlight of my speaking engagement last week, for his fun and motivating personality, and for his brilliant ideas on how to make this economy start working for you.
Motivational Keynote Speaker & Business Growth Expert, Meridith Elliott Powell, works with clients to help them instill ownership at every level to ensure profits at every turn. Click here for 3 Sure Fire Tips To Get Your Team To Instill Ownership At Every Level, To Get Profits At Every Turn! Meridith is the author of several books, including her latest, Winning In The Trust & Value Economy: a professionals guide to business and sales success. When not keynoting and leading workshops, she looks for inspiration cycling, golfing or hiking her favorite trail. http://www.meridithelliottpowell.com