To get and keep a customer, you got to understand his language. It was formulated from years of ignoring his needs, disrespecting his values, and relegating him to a mere cog in the consumption machine. As a result, he grows doubtful of market offerings that are designed by marketers, who keep on demonstrating -rather than listening- through marketing tactics and seducing him into making business their own way not the customer’s way.
Failing and unwillingness to understand customer’s language leads you to denial. Denial of the realities of customers’ needs and in so doing being disconnecting from the realities of the marketplace. Before making business with potential customers, they want you to overcome the hurdles that caused them distrust. These hurdles include dishonesty, unfairness, disrespect, and unaccountability. Building personal connection and trust, based on human values, with your potential customers, precedes the transactional value you seek to offer.
One of the underlying reasons behind the failure of many startups is ignoring customers. This reason is rated No. 9 in the list of the 20 reasons identified by the reputable CB Insights. When interviewing some of those startups, they cited excuses for failing to connect with their potential customers. One of the excuses is: “spending way too much time building it for ourselves and not getting feedback from prospects.” He went on saying; “It’s easier to get tricked into thinking your thing is cool. You have to pay attention to your customers and adapt to their needs.”
Ignoring the customer is the result of denying the reality of the marketplace. Reality says that coming up with a value proposition for your customer comes from listening to them and pinpointing their pain points. The customer will accept you only when being treated as a human being and being taking care of his needs. IBM was once a market leader in the computer industry. They run complacent and stopped listening to customers’ needs until the upstarts such as Microsoft, Dell, and Apple listened attentively to the computer users and met their needs on their own terms.
To construct a sustainable business with your customers, three steps needs to be taken. The first step is to develop a customer-oriented mindset. It got to replace the product-oriented mindset. You need to look past your product or service offering and begin thinking and looking from the customer’s perspective. So, “reverse engineer” your market offering to start with building a strong relationship with customers and identify their pain points. Market leaders know that, to customers, buying a product is relatively simple when compared with finding company you could trust.
The second step is to acknowledge customers’ fears and doubts. Because of the long history of ignoring their needs, customers need confidence to make a shift and try new things. When listening to their suffering of their unmet needs and acknowledge their fears, customers will accept you as an alternative capable of meeting their needs. When you satisfy their needs by way, of a product and service, you show that you care. Caring is a sign of differentiating yourself from the other players in the market. Going the extra mile and establish intimacy with your customer by offering something no one else can, will make the customer seek you.
The third step is to ask for feedback. The only way to keep giving your customers what they crave is to find a way of reconnecting with them through constructive feedback. A restaurant, for example, solicits customers’ input via comment cards. These cards shed light on how things can be improved. The feedback is an excellent measuring tool as it helps management to track deficiencies and work on making things better over time. In responding to customers’ feedback and keeping on daily consistent and continuous improvement, you are communicating credibility to your customers. And credibility, along with other intangible human values, is the cornerstone of establishing a sustainable relationship with customers.
Getting and keeping a customer is subject to understanding his language. It’s a language founded on the basis of trust and likability. Business transaction is built upon this foundation. What every business owner needs to understand is to relegate the transactional value to the background and take time and effort to firstly build a trusting and long-lasting relationship with potential customers. A relationship based on understanding, honesty, credibility, caring, and consistency.