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Monday, November 12, 2007

Are You Convincing or Compelling Customers?

Last Thursday I attended the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce 115th Annual Dinner at the Broadmoor. It was a nice evening of typical fancy ballroom awards. My friend, and killer web designer, the "web diva" Michelle Bracewell snapped this picture and I asked her for a copy. I then pointed out the top of my head, the side of News Anchor John Karroll, who sat at my table, and the speaker, Chamber CEO Dave Csintyan (sin-tain).

Dave was making some great points while I was looking down because I forgot paper and pen and was typing as fast as I could into my memo pad on my cell phone. Here are my notes, thoughts and reactions to what Dave said.

Do you want your customers to be convinced or compelled? Think about this for a second. No one really wants to have to convince people to become their customers, instead we want people to be compelled to call us up and volunteer to become our customers.

Whether or not you are succeeding at compelling them or not can be answered by the question, "Do you have to coerce or manipulate people with gimmicks and pricing or other sales tactics to get clients, or are your existing clients people who are your evangelists that do the convincing for you?"

If you compel, then this implies:
  1. Your quality of product and service is good
  2. Your customer service is outstanding
  3. Your personal relationships with customers are strong
Without these, you are left with convincing.

However, you must have all three parts of this for it to work and the most important part is the relationships with customers.

Let me give you an example. Do you like the toilet paper you currently use? Does it always come packaged conveniently with the same cardboard tube in the middle? Do they always have it on the shelf of the store when you run out? Is it soft and comfortable to use? Do you actually know the guy who delivers it?

See! You probably said "yes" to all but the last question. Without relationships with your customers, you will never develop an evangelist to do the convincing for you. As a result of this, you probably don't open up many conversations by saying, "Hi, my name is... and I love Charmin toilet paper. Let me tell you about it."

When you begin to think about attracting a potential client, give second thought to the last time you attracted an existing client.

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