When Did you Last Have a Deep and Meaningful Conversation with One of Your Clients?
They say that it’s not polite to talk about sex, religion and politics. But I feel genuinely privileged to touch on these kind of ‘taboo topics’ on a daily basis in my conversations with clients and others who I come into contact with through my business.
I feel grateful that in the last week alone I have also had the opportunity to engage in discussion about a range of ‘no-no’ subjects including mental health issues, drug addiction, money, giving birth and even death, amongst others.
If you don’t already know me and what I do, you might think I’m a therapist. I’m not, though I’ve had clients who have described our sessions as therapeutic.
In fact, I’m a marketing strategist, and in my one-to-one work and group programmes with ambitious, vision-led entrepreneurs, I get to hear all about their deepest fears and dreams for their businesses. Owner-managed businesses are so intrinsically linked to their founder’s vision, personality and personal values.
So it is inevitable that as people’s business goals are so bound up with their own individual goals and motivations, that we have to talk about this sort of stuff when we’re developing an authentic brand and strategic marketing plan.
A business owner may approach me at first thinking, ‘I need a new website/ logo/ more clients/ more visibility/ to launch a new product or service/ insert word into the blank here’. And then we get talking, and it becomes apparent that what they actually need is more clarity about their target markets (and then need to rethink the marketing channels they use), or more confidence about the amazing value they give (and then need to increase their prices), or more ways to reach out and maintain contact with clients and prospects to build regular communication and nurture their business relationships.
I’m not suggesting that it’s time for you to start striking up conversations with your clients and prospects about their personal lives or core beliefs – there is no need to make anyone feel uncomfortable or to do anything inappropriate. My interactions with people rarely begin with this kind of thing either – it comes out further down the line!
But I do think there is scope for most businesses to spend more time in genuine, open, two-way dialogue with all of their stakeholders. When did you last solicit feedback from your clients to see where you could be adding more value, and ‘really’ understand how they perceive the impact you have created for them? When did you last spend time really getting to know someone better after a quick ‘hello, nice to meet you’ introduction at a networking event? When did you last ask one of your customers what their biggest challenge or goal is right now, to see if you could help them?
When asked to describe what marketing is all about in just one word, I always say ‘connection’. At the end of the day, all of your social media, advertising, networking, web content, copywriting, or whatever you’re doing, is all being created to foster a stronger link between a prospective buyer or existing customer and a seller (that is – you and your business). There can be huge value in that connection – if it is deep (i.e. wins over the hearts and minds of your target audience) and meaningful (i.e. has a clear intention or purpose and delivers a result). Or it can be shallow and meaningless. You decide.
If you are a service-led business owner who wants to create more deep and meaningful communication with clients, drop me a line and I’d be happy to talk about how we can work together to make your marketing more fruitful.
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