A few years back, I purchased a new house. While my wife loved the kitchen and bedrooms, my favorite features were the office, hot tub, and “man town.”
I remember the first day like it was yesterday…
After a long day of moving and being on my feet, I couldn’t wait to crack open a cold brewski, fire up the hot tub, and lose myself somewhere between the hot jets massaging my back and the steam surrounding my face.
Sadly, like someone giving you the final score of the big game before you get a chance to watch it… The dream came crashing down when I discovered the previous owners failed to winterize the tub correctly and the pipes froze and cracked.
Now, I’m not sure who was more disappointed that we couldn’t enjoy the bubbly paradise – me or my kids… Either way, I was on a mission to resolve it.
Like most people, the first place I looked for a hot tub service technician was on the web. As you could expect, there was an plethora of vendors, which turned into a dilemma.
Which one do I choose?
Several vendors had 1 or 2 reviews, but one company in particular had 19 five-star Google reviews.
They instantly became my preferred vendor.
And not surprisingly, as I shared my “hot tub dilemma” with my local friends, they all recommended the same vendor.
So, the marketing geek in me was on a quest to find out:
What makes this company better than the others?
How come this company is the obvious choice for so many people?
Perhaps this will give you a hint…
Here are actual quotes from their customers, as taken directly from Google Reviews:
- “I drove almost 2 hours to visit them and was pleasantly greeted by Tony Pescosolido. After explaining I was from MA and out of his service area, Tony still spent over an hour and a half with me… I learned more from Tony than I had from going to multiple dealers, or from the Sundance website and literature.” – Glenn B.
- “When you first enter the store, you will notice employees that are ready to help you and are very pleasant to deal with. Tony (manager) has a incredible knowledge base on hot tubs, and he helped us pick out our hot tub seven years ago. If I ever have a question, I can call him and he or Jess will be there to answer me. I just had my hot tub serviced by Tim and he was incredible and very professional. He took the time to explain what was done, and gave me many ideas on how to keep my hot tub working. This company is like an extended family to me as they all treat you with the best customer service! I’m a customer for life at Great Bay Spa and Sauna!” – Bruce T.
- “We had an issue with the radio and after a call, they were there to make it perfect once again… They do stand behind what they say…” – Linda Hawk
And I think this one really sums it up:
“We fell in love with the people here.
They really do make you feel important.”
Yes, you need to have a great product and a great service – but as we’re seeing, that alone won’t win the heart of your consumer.
To win your customers’ hearts, you must genuinely demonstrate that you care about them and the ultimate result they are after.
Now look, I’m working with a coaching client right now who told me: “I really care about my clients.”
And he does… But after a little investigation on my end, I concluded that his clients don’t always feel the same way he does.
Let me explain…
Some years ago, I was in St. Thomas with one of the top financial traders in the world, a gentleman named Ed Seykota. While we were meeting, my (then infant) son was sitting on the floor playing with his feet.
Ed said to me: “Do you love your son?”
I looked at him like he was on drugs and said: “Of course!”
“How does your son know?” Ed asked.
So I said, “Because I tell him I do.”
And Ed responded with: “He doesn’t appear to know English yet. Are you sure he understands what ‘I love you’ means?”
He was right.
Therein lies the dilemma…
Just because you show you care… And might use the highest quality products… Or have the most talented employees… Or the fastest customer service…
The bigger question is:
“What do your customers need to hear or see in order to feel special, valued, and appreciated?”
It starts by taking time to understand what’s important to your customer – and giving them what they want.
Remember, you are not your customer. Just because a certain feature or benefit is important to you, that doesn’t mean it’s important to them.
Sort of like when I went to buy a new chandelier for my home, and the salesman spent 15 minutes explaining the quality of the fittings to me.
I couldn’t care less and he bored me to tears… To the point where I walked away mid-conversation.
You see, he was telling me what was important to him (he was a former electrician), when all I cared about was whether or not it was going to provide enough light for a 10-person table.
In Jay Abraham’s Strategy of Preeminence, he says that your purpose and role must be one of a leader, an authoritative, consultative force in your marketplace (note, nowhere did he say your role was to be a salesman).
When you take the time to understand what’s important to your customer, you can develop an empathetic sense of caring. In other words, as Jay says: “I feel the way you feel. I understand what your problem is.”
That’s why the hot tub company became the obvious choice for so many people – and the customers said so themselves!
The company didn’t just sell them, they took the time to understand their problem, and give them relevant advice for achieving the ultimate result. Some people even drove over 2 hours specifically to talk with these people… Driving past dozens of closer (possibly cheaper) competitors… All because they trusted this vendor.
Would your customers do the same for you?
Again, when you see your role as a trusted authority (not a salesman), customers will flock to you because research has already proven that people have an inherent distrust in companies.
If you can be someone they trust, you’ll earn all of their business.
Look, everyone (at some point or another) feels like they’re just a number to a company. Walk into Walmart… Do they make you feel special, valued, or appreciated?
Now compare that experience to Zappos. In fact, I encourage you to call them at 1-800-927-7671. Ask them any question you want… Really challenge them… And you’ll get an idea at how empathic and sincere their customer service team is in trying to help you get a better result.
And that’s exactly how a company like Zappos was able to walk into a highly saturated and competitive market, and quickly become a billion-dollar behemoth, sending their competitors running away with their tails between their legs.
Folks, this IS about growing a company.
Marketing is anything that gets and keeps customers. You must understand that YOUR CUSTOMERS HAVE ALL THE POWER. There are more alternatives and competitive choices than ever before… And plenty of access to reviews, social feedback, and research to help them make an educated decision.
If you want to be in this game for the long haul, you really don’t have a choice but to be preeminent – and position yourself as the obvious choice by making your customers feel valued, special, or appreciated.
Look, most people are selfish… And are only thinking about ways in their actions can serve themselves…
The traditional salesman only cares about commissions. The traditional business owner only cares about bottom line profits… But the customer only cares about getting the product or service that’s going to best meet their needs (not yours)!
The secret to making your business become the obvious choice is to have an empathetic awareness of what’s important to your customer.
And yes, it even might mean you have to subordinate your profits in order to satisfy their biggest needs. When people see you take this action, this stimulates more trust, more loyalty, and a higher long-term customer value!
Back to Zappos for a minute…
If you call Zappos and they don’t have a shoe in stock, their employees are trained to scan three competitor websites to help the customer find the shoe they want in the right size – and that’s part of the reason why 1 in 38 US Consumers has made a purchase with Zappos (Source: ANA)… They keep their customers happy!
And they’re always striving to do what they do… Better.
I like the way Jay Abraham puts it when he says: “What problems are we going to help our clients solve? How can we have the most positive impact on the people we’re trying to sell to?”
You see, it’s this type of attitude that allows you to call a customer or a client back to let them know when you have another product or service that can help them further. In fact, it’s not just a good strategy… As their trusted advisor, you owe it to them to let them know when (and how) you can help them achieve a greater result.
You must genuinely and sincerely care about helping your client get the results they’re after.
Do this, and the next time someone asks who they should be doing business with… YOU will be their obvious choice.