In the beginning, there was a question:
“What do you do that brings people back for more of YOU?”
Dixie, my great friend, personal coach and consummate butt-kicker, recently asked me that question.
And after thinking about the philosophy surrounding it, here’s what I’ve come up with:
The best way to earn repeat business is to make yourself, your brand and your value more revisitable.
So, whether you’re an entrepreneur, CEO, service provider or small business owner, consider these practices for bringing people back for more of YOU:
1. Accommodate unusual requests. And before you do so, try saying this: “Let me make an exception for you.” You won’t just make people feel special – you’ll make them feel essential. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. What are you doing to earn and ensure your status of trusted advisor in the mind of the customer?
2. Advance in earnestness. Vigor. Passion. Resoluteness. It’s hard to resist people like that. They simply provide too much warmth. As Richard Pryor once suggested, “Learn how to set yourself on fire.” Because when you do that (without freebasing cocaine, that is) people will come back just to watch you burn. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. Are you currently operating out of your passion?
3. Be a disturbance. Comfortable customers rarely take action. Your mission is to use your questions, statements, ideas and thoughts to disturb the hell out of them. Not in a dangerous, violating or illegal way, of course. But to make them SO uncomfortable, so squiggly in their seats, that they have no choice but to say, “Screw it – let’s go.”
Sure, it’s crushing to their ego, but it’s crucial to their practice. They’ll thank you in the end. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. What action-inducing emotions will you bring to the surface?
4. Be fabulously versatile. Consider this question: What skills are you not currently leveraging to add value to your customers? My suggestion is to run an internal inventory. To uncover the diamonds that your customers have yet to see shine. And to go out of your way to tell your customers about the new ways you can help them.
Versatility is the driving force of evolution. And those who evolve are revisited. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. Will this risk put you (and your customers) in a position for major breakthroughs and growth?
5. Be plastered with perseverance. Repeat business doesn’t just automatically come to you. You need to make up your mind that you’re going to go the distance. My suggestion is simple: Wake up one hour earlier. That’s it. ONE hour. Single greatest piece of advice I ever got. You’ll be amazed at:
(a) how much you get done
(b) how much momentum that one hour activates for the rest of the day, and
(c) how much more revisitable you become.
Think about it: People can’t exactly “come back for more of you” when you’re in bed. Well, unless we’re talking about prostitutes. Which we’re not. Remember: Determination naturally builds momentum. Making a name for yourself is the inevitability of diligence. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. What time did you wake up today?
6. Choose harmony over rightness. Stop being right. Customers rarely revisit businesspeople whose pathological hunger for rightness overshadows the achievement of interpersonal harmony. In short: Stop letting your ego vote. Trying listening with the ear of your heart instead. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. Are you known as “someone who really LISTENS” or “The guy who never shuts up”?
7. Declare war on destructive habits. First, name one bad habit you’ve broken in your lifetime. How did you do it? List out the steps you took. Next, identify ONE destructive habit you’re currently addicted to that’s threatening your revisitability.
Finally, redouble your commitment to daily self-cultivation. See if you can’t make that habit old news. Remember: If your habits are destroying you, they’re probably destroying your relationships too. Even if you’re too close to yourself to realize it. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. What habits of yours offend customers?
8. Don’t overvalue prior successes. Arrogance of the past will come back to bite you in the ass. As John Mayer explained during a 2009 interview with Esquire, “To evolve, you have to dismantle. And that means accepting the idea that nothing you created in the past matters anymore other than it brought you here. You pick up your new marching orders and get to work.”
Remember this, and you won’t accidentally give customers a reason to switch. Remember this, and you won’t let arrogance and complacency sabotage your revisitability. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. If everything you’ve done up until now is just the beginning, what’s next?
9. Honor shifting cultural trends. Here’s what your clients used to want: “Good fast and cheap.” Here’s what your clients currently want: “Perfect now and free.” These are the three insatiable consumer demands, according to bestselling author Robert Rodin.
Now, obviously, I doubt you’re going to reformulate your entire business model to accommodate that trend. But repeat business is a function of client awareness. Perhaps it’s time to honestly assess what each of the three words (perfect, now and free) looks like for your customers. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. What have you recently learned about marketing trends?
10. Live above the level of mediocrity. First, it begins with self-confidence. You have to believe that deep down you are able to give something extraordinary. Next, it continues with the identification of the status quo. Figuring out what other companies – who do what you do – always (or never) do.
Then, it’s about doing the opposite. Which doesn’t necessarily mean doing something remarkable; but rather, stopping something normal. It’s that easy. Remember: If nobody buys average, that means nobody re-buys average. Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. What are you doing consistently that average people aren’t?
11. Teach people how to trust you. I’ve been using the same web design company for seven years. They rock. And the biggest reason I keep coming back for more is because they taught me how to trust them. They proved themselves (over time) to be the kind of company I could give an idea to, let them run with it, then meet them on the finish line two weeks later – and be blown away.
All because they know my style, they know my brand and they know what their capabilities are to stay in alignment with those parameters. So, insanely curious about the process behind this, I had lunch with Wendy Gauntt from CIO Services and asked her how she teaches customers to trust her:
“Somebody never just ‘calls’ you,” she said. “That’s why we ask two simple questions at the onset: (1) What do you want to achieve? and (2) Why now? Then, during the project, we’re always steering to get back to that main goal.” Practice this, and people will come back for more of you. How are you teaching customers to trust you?
REMEMBER: To earn repeat business, make yourself, your brand and your value more revisitable.
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What do you do that brings people back for more of YOU?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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Tuesday, December 01, 2009
In the beginning, there was a question: