How much do you like your customers?

I just got off the phone with a salesperson who doesn’t seem to like her customers much. (She was selling printer toner, if you’re curious.) Her distaste for her job shows. I’ll buy toner elsewhere, thanks.

We all have THOSE days. But in general, if you don’t like, respect, admire and enjoy spending time with your customers, you might want to reconsider your business choices.  Seriously.

Guerilla Marketing Secret Number Eleven from Jay Conrad Levinson’s book is “Prove your involvement with customers and prospects by your regular follow-up with them.”

And we mean regular follow up. Seriously.

  1. The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn’t see it.
  2. The second time he doesn’t notice it.
  3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it.
  5. The fifth time, he reads the ad.
  6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says “oh, brother!”
  8. The eight time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  9. The ninth time, he wonders whether it amounts to anything.
  10. The tenth time, he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.
  12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  13. The thirteenth time, he thinks it might be worth something.
  14. The fourteenth time, he remembers that he has wanted such a thing for a long time.
  15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, he thinks he will buy it someday.
  17. The seventeenth he makes a memorandum of it.
  18. The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys the article or instructs his wife to do so.

If you’re wondering about the arcane language, realize that this passage was written by Thomas Smith in London in 1885.   Before the Internet, TV, radio, product placements in movies, and a thousand other technologies that put ads on every surface and every ambient sound. Before we had centuries of experience in tuning out ads out of self-defense.

So, we come back to the question – do you like your customers?    You’re going to spend a lot of time and energy getting in front of customers and prospects, over and over again.  Some of them won’t like you just because you’re selling something. Some of them won’t like you just because some people don’t hit it off with others.  But it will make your life much easier (and much more fun) if you like them.

The very coolest thing about my business is that I get to choose my clients.  I chose an industry (aviation) where people are smarter than average. Aviation people also have an adventurous streak that I love.  They are savvy businesspeople but they’re willing to invest in the best and to take calculated risks when it’s appropriate. You don’t rarely that anywhere else. . .

If you dislike people in general, or your customers in particular, it will be hard not to show it.  People have extraordinary radar and pick up on signals in your phone voice, your emails, and your articles. Your ads won’t “smell right,” no matter how much time, money and energy you spend on them.

The converse is also true.  People seem to have developed an instinct to know who is sincere and who is not.  And they overlook a multitude of sins if you have a great product and are passionate about making life better for your customers.

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