Customers Don’t Want Your Friendship

Really?  You mean the person driving into my business doesn’t want to be my friend??  That’s right!  With all of the talk of building a community, using social media, and responding to posts on Facebook, a lot of us have lost sight of the fact that the person coming in the door is a customer and not a friend.  Don’t believe me?  Here are my reasons:

1.)    Friends are people that you pour your heart out to.  Do you really want to tell your customer all about the horrible first quarter you had or that the person that just left was a very rude, inconsiderate person?  No, of course not.

Your customer expects you to be upbeat and cheerful anytime they see you.  Your friends are there to give you a shoulder to cry on.

2.)    Friends are people who feel that they can ask a favor of you such as loaning them your truck to move their furniture, watching their pet while they are gone for a weekend, or picking them up from the eye doctor’s office after they have had their eyes dilated.

Your customer expects to purchase a product from you that has value.  There is no true give and take in this relationship; it’s all about the exchange of value.

3.)    Friends are people that you can sit down with and have a meal, a drink or just a leisurely chat.  They expect nothing more than good conversation, a little gossip and maybe a good hearted disagreement over politics.

A customer expects you to influence them to buy your product.  This isn’t an unreasonable expectation.  This is the nature of your relationship.  It can be dangerous to get into a deep conversation especially if it is about politics.

So now let’s take another look at how we are approaching our customers when we post on social media, begin building our communities, and how we treat them when they walk in the front door.

1.)    Everyone likes to feel special and you deliver that feeling when you smile and greet a person by their name.  It’s even OK to ask about their family.  But, here is where things change a bit, it’s not alright to tell them about how horrible your mother-in-law is, your alcoholic brother’s stint in rehab or how certain customers are costing you a fortune.  That is information you save for your friends.

Be there for your customers and listen, sympathize and console but don’t forget that you are there to sell your product.

2.)    When you post to your company Facebook page, keep everything light, informative and interesting.  Remember that this is a business post with the intent of a subtle sell.  You are selling the pizzazz of your product, not the product itself.  You want to create that feeling of excitement and fun that your business can deliver.

Save your direct sales posts for every 15th or 20th post.  Don’t be the door-to-door salesman of your industry, be the sought after representative of your industry.

3.)     Your customers expect value for their hard earned dollars.  If you want to continue to receive those dollars and their goodwill, you had better give them the best product you can.  Their goodwill is every bit as valuable as those dollars; it translates into word of mouth advertising.  And as everyone knows word of mouth is the cheapest, most valuable form of advertising that you can get.

You still need to build your community, post on social media and respond to comments but keep in mind what the purpose of all this effort truly is.

Those are my thoughts on the subject, what are yours?

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