May 30, 2024 |

Anna Lawrence

Four Rules for Getting New Customers

As a marketing professional, I will tell you all day long that the best way to invite new customers to your businesses is through marketing. I will explain to you the importance of reach and frequency – how you need a good media mix (because your customers don’t all participate in the same media, but they do all participate in many different kinds) – and how getting the right message in front of the right audience is key. I can tell you all day long how to attract customers to your business. But what I can’t do is sell them for you once they are there.

So how do you convert a prospect to a customer?

Robert Fulghum would argue, in his book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, that you learned it a long time ago. But now that we’re adults, perhaps a refresher is in order. Let’s start with four.

1. Don’t hit people.

Hopefully as adults we are able to keep our emotions in check and refrain from physical violence. But a “hit” doesn’t have to be physical. The same response can come from a disconnect in your marketing.

Marketing is all about setting expectations, and when the expectations you set do not match the experience the customer gets, the feeling is an unexpected jolt followed by a moment of confusion that can leave one feeling stunned.

You may be thinking “c’mon – is it really that deep?”

Yes. Yes, it is.

Think about the last time your experience did not match your expectations. Chances are, the disconnect did more damage than if you had no expectations at all.

2. Clean up your own mess.

When people come to your business and their experience doesn’t match their expectations, they typically do not care why.

I’m not saying people aren’t compassionate. But especially the first time someone encounters your business, they simply aren’t invested enough yet to care if there is something amiss about your day that has things off. Instead, they simply chalk it up to “the way you do things” and decide not to come back.

Days aren’t always good, and they don’t always go as planned. Staffing, for any industry today, can be challenging – finding enough, let alone finding quality. Remember, every person walking through your door is dealing with something. So don’t make your problems theirs. Find a way to deal with your business issues behind closed doors and present to the customer an experience that matches the expectations you have set.

3. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

If you are having an off day, if you or your staff made a mistake, or you simply weren’t able to deliver as promised this one time – just own it.

Some businesses are so afraid of the consequences of admitting fault, that they do whatever they can to avoid it. But the truth is, your customer already thinks it’s your fault and that probably won’t change.

A mistake is simply an opportunity to excel. By going above and beyond to both claim, and fix, an issue for a customer you will likely gain not only their loyalty, but also, their referrals.

4. Always flush.

Let’s face it – no one wants to walk into a bathroom and discover the previous tenant’s remains. And it’s the same for your customers.

Don’t hold on to things that aren’t productive. Yes, you had a client take advantage of the return policy, but don’t let that experience cause you to rethink a policy that others appreciate. Perhaps you just dealt with a difficult customer. Don’t take that experience to the next. Flush it away, take a breath, and start fresh.

It’s not surprising that what we learned as kids still applies today. What is surprising is how much of it we’ve forgotten. When all else fails, go back to basics – the basics of human decency, and of treating people with respect and the way you want to be treated. By doing so, you’ll grow so much more than just your business.