It’s the most basic of business basics. Love your customers.
You’re heard it a million times, and if you’re feeling stressed, it’s easy to forget. When you are working, in the flow, making progress, and a customer calls or walks in and interrupts, it’s hard to remember.
But… how do you work on that?
Jon Swanson gave me the best answer I’ve heard.
“You need to know what your purpose is. The point of a business is making a difference in the lives of people, and the most important group of people is…customers.”
The lesson: take time to be clear about your purpose.
That means time away from the business to think about, and be clear about your purpose.
In the moment, the way to apply this is to pause. Pause and remember your purpose. If you’re interrupted by the phone, put your hand on the phone, but don’t answer it yet. Take a moment. Picture a client with good news. Imagine all the wonderful possibilities. Smile, then answer.
For customers coming in the door, take a deep breath, and remind yourself of your average sale. Mentally say, “Thanks for the $50!” Smile and go give some great customer service.
This article is part of the Small Biz 100, a series of 100 practical hands-on posts for small business people and solo entrepreneurs, whether in a small town, the big city, or in between. If you have questions you’d like us to address in this series, leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the whole series by subscribing to Small Biz Survival.
Photo by Becky McCray.
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Another way to love your customers –
especially in 2009 where the economy may get worse
– is to show your appreciate for their business
(and inspire more spending)
by offer something extra when they next buy from you
(a gift) – provided by your partnering business
that serves the same kind of customer as you do.
Of course you will reciprocate with the partner’s customers.
You both gain a warmed-up introduction to each other’s customers.
(I call this SmartPartnering – everyone wins)
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Kare. That’s a terrific promotional idea.
Derrick Parkhurst says
It seems like before you can love your customers, you have to KNOW and UNDERSTAND your customers. When you understand your customer’s problems, your purpose is clear – to solve those problems. Stop ‘selling stuff’, and start ‘solving problems’. Rephrasing it this way doesn’t change the fact that you sell widgets, but reminds you why you can sell widgets in the first place.
Becky McCray says
Excellent, Derrick. That is exactly how you get a grasp on your purpose.
I love the simplicity of this post! I especially love “Thanks for the $50!”
If you think like that when a customer walks in, you can’t help but smile when you’re helping them.
Becky McCray says
Thanks, Kelly. Coming straight from a crazy busy day at the store, I can tell you that it’s sometimes tough to remember in the thick of things. But it does help!