We’ve all heard the saying that “work would be great if it weren’t for the customers.” But is that true? Sure, every company has its share of challenging customers, for various reasons. I used to work for a company that had a “no jerk” rule, meaning we weren’t going to take on any clients that were jerks. I remember wondering how were we going to barricade the doors to ensure only non-jerks entered?
The no jerk rule is easier to implement when you’re further down the growth curve and cash flow isn’t a major concern. But the reality is we deal with clients in the early growth stage that can implement it as well. Which brings me back to the questions:
- How and when is it possible to implement?
- Wouldn’t work life be wonderful if we could all clone our best customers?
For the most part, the answer is yes, and it IS possible.
I remember giving a lot of thought to the no jerk rule. What did it really mean? I ran marketing and business development, so I needed to figure it out. If anybody slipped through the cracks, I’d be on the hook. What was the difference between our best and, dare I say, worst customers?
The more we dove into it, we realized that at a fundamental level, we were philosophically aligned with our best customers. We valued the same things, had similar cultures, treated our employees in the same manner and treated our business partners, both customers and suppliers, in the same manner. In contrast, the customers who we put on the naughty list weren’t all jerks. It became evident that we actually liked many of them personally, we just weren’t philosophically aligned from a business perspective.
If you’ve ever run through a similar exercise, you know how gratifying it is to identify all of those positive traits your best customers possess. But you then realize that was the easy part. The hard part is figuring out how to attract new customers that possess those same traits. This is where a strong content and inbound marketing strategy comes into play. If you’re familiar with The Golden Circle from Simon Sinek, people first care about why you do what you do, then they care about how you do it, and lastly, what it is you do.
Marketing has evolved into such a critical and powerful asset for organizations, whether it’s B2C or B2B. At SyncShow, we prefer the B2H (business to human) philosophy. We as marketing and sales organizations are trying to influence the decision-making process of another human being. Our role is to help our clients attract more of their perfect customers through customized inbound marketing strategies. And, keeping The Golden Circle in mind, there are three main strategies we employ.
1. Be Generous
In today’s world, the buying process has evolved. A buyer’s behavior is geared towards online research, regardless if they’re at home researching a new barbecue grill or at work in search of the goods and services you provide. The more content you can produce that is relative to your ideal buyer’s needs, the better.
Beyond fulfilling their obvious needs, they also want to know you’re the type of organization they’d like to partner with. This is where the no-jerk filter can come in. If you’re thoughtful about the content you produce and how it reflects your organization, you’ll attract more of the customers who believe in the same things you believe in.
2. Be Relevant
We’ve all sat through presentations where the focus of the presenter’s slide deck is solely on their company, such as:
- When they started
- Their product
- Their plant and/or locations
- The reasons they’re different (Spoiler alert: “different” doesn’t mean better)
People want to know that you understand their situations and that you’re the calamine lotion for their itch. There are external and internal needs your potential customers are looking to address. Understanding these needs through strong persona development ensures you’re speaking to them at both levels.
3. Be Credible
Everybody wants to buy, but nobody wants to be sold. Buyers are looking for partners that can guide them to a better place. People are looking for subject matter experts so they don’t have to be one. The more you can convey how well you know your business, and more importantly, your customer’s business, the more trust you’ll build with potential customers. How do you become viewed as the risk-free choice? By proving how you address the external and internal needs of your customers better than anyone else.
At my previous company, once we implemented a content and inbound marketing strategy that communicated why we did what we did, how we went about doing it and what our service was, we fundamentally changed the way we attracted new clients. We were able to attract more of the types of clients we wanted to grow with and form true partnerships.
Aligning your organization with customers that share your same philosophy, goals, values and culture can make all the difference in the world. Growth becomes easier, relationships become stronger and work becomes more fun. Leave the others for your competitors.