Take Customers Behind the Curtain

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 23, 2011

I recently saw an ad featuring a young girl who went through life-altering treatment at New York Presbyterian Hospital. The tagline of the campaign: "Amazing Things Are Happening Here"—the implication being that if you peered inside the hospital walls, you would see incredible stories that largely go untold and unpublicized.

It takes courage to let people peer inside the walls of your business. How many of your success stories go untold?

Sharlene Sones, owner of marketing consultancy Brandstoria.com, recently described to me her experience consulting with the owner of a fashion business. She says they were all blown away by stories that had never been shared with customers. In some sense, we’re all like the beggar who discovers he is sitting on a pot of gold. Below are two tips for how you can uncover stories that will strike your customers as memorable and moving. Keep in mind that it’s details that matter most.

1. Educate people on your successes. Most people don’t know anything about what you do or how you do it. They have only the most generic, glossy picture of your business. As a coach, it’s fascinating to me how often business owners rush through explanations of what they do or brain-dump an incomprehensible story. How about taking the time to really talk through something your company does well and did right? Can you walk someone through the story of your most successful engagement from beginning to end? As you do this, you may discover new elements in your story that will translate well into your marketing.

2. Invite customers to tell you the details of their experiences with your offerings. Every business has evangelists who refer more customers or rave about you to their friends. Often, business owners and marketers try to profit on this enthusiasm without really diving deeply into understanding just how the product or service impacted the customer and their life. If you were to set aside some time to sit down with your customers and listen, you might discover how what you do has deeply influenced their life situations. In that dialogue, you might also learn something new about your offerings, enabling you to serve more people better.

Most customers these days want insight and transparency. They want to know where you are coming from. Try differentiating yourself by uncovering true stories that show how much your business means to you and your customers. You may find that by doing this, you feel even greater passion and purpose for what you do.

Michael Felberbaum
Founder
NumeSpot
Hamden, Conn.

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