Courting The Customer

Don’t sell. Court instead. It’s a much better way to connect and woo your customer.

It’s delicate. You can’t annoy people and expect them to like you. Pushing ads in people’s faces only creates a repelling effect. You will be ignored.

Yet, out of desperation, businesses sell hard today. They see all the shiny new tools available for marketing and abuse the mediums by spamming. Whether it’s web spam, email, banners, social media or mobile, noone wants to be sold through any of these methods. Lucky for all of us, we can turn off sales technology with filtering technologies, and we do.

It’s not that technology is bad. It’s how so many marketers damage brands by misusing such powerful tools. The old economy afforded heavy selling because it was a one-way conversation. Today, brands and customers interact. It’s a real-time world with our attention becoming increasingly scarce and prized at the same time.

It’s easy to spam and blast people with messages they will ignore. We don’t advise it, however. There’s too much collateral damage to your brand. Instead, the process has to be broken down. Your customer does not want to be sold. They want to be courted. Courtship in the sales process looks a lot like dating:

  1. Know where they will be. Using an out of place billboard is a bad investment. So is trying every type of desperate ploy to get attention. Think about the relevant places. The inbox is sacred and important if you can have subscribers. Social media strategies need to be about bringing value and creating conversations. People interact in rational places for your brand. Think it through.
  2. Make it about them. Your message has to connect. Pinpoint what your customer cares about or is concerned with. It’s important to have a focal point for your message in this area.
  3. Give gifts. Gifts show care and open up a relationship. This can take many forms. It may be tangible, virtual or personal. In any case, it has to be relevant. The creativity needs to be around the human experience and what will be appropriate.
  4. Invite them to a dating experience. You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you immediately. Likewise, allow your buyer to get to know you. Date them. The more they get to know you, the more trust gets built at a comfortable pace.

Courting your customer takes a lot of extra thinking and planning. It may mean letting go of the addiction of overselling and learning to build relationships with care and an attention to connecting.

What’s the alternative otherwise?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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