Court your customers
You have a hot date tonight … a first date. And you want this evening to lead to a second date and potentially a third date because you’re very much into this person, so you have some work to do.
Before the date
You’re going to have a nice long shower to make sure you’re squeaky clean and smelling good. You’ll trim your nails, maybe even get a manicure. You’ll also put on your best outfit, shave, and do what you can to look your best.
You’ll also do whatever you can to prepare for the evening. You may research the date venue so you have an idea of what to expect. You might do a bit of heavy Internet stalking or at least some light Facebook creeping of your date to learn more about them, and you might even think about some topics to talk about and common interests you share.
During the date
Throughout the evening (assuming the date goes well), you’ll compliment your date on their appearance and reassure them with your body language (ooh la la) that you’re having a great time and that you are really happy you are getting the chance to get to know one another better.
Demonstrating that you’re interested in what each other has to say will prove your mutual attraction.
After the date
If all went well, you’ll agree to do it again. There will be either another date set or a plan made to connect in the next day or two, proving that there is genuine desire to build the relationship.
As feelings deepen, and things get more serious, you enter the “honeymoon” phase of your relationship where you can’t seem to get enough of each other, and your lives are filled with roses and sunshine.
Now, think back to when you first started your business and were obsessed with attracting those very first customers…
Courtship in business
Just like in our first date scenario, you went to all lengths to make sure that your shop was spick and span, your paint and furniture reflected your brand colours, and your website was totally up-to-date. You had all kinds of carefully curated and freshly printed literature at the ready and processes in place for everything you may encounter in the average business day.
When that first customer walked through the door, you had a huge smile, dropped what you were doing, and saw to their every need. You thanked them for coming and told them you would love to see them again. As they left your shop, you may have requested the opportunity to reach out to them so that you could work on building your relationship.
When you’re dating and when you’re branding, you need to go the extra mile to make the person/customer feel special.
You need to meet on common ground and share those values and things you have in common.
When you compare the human connection when dating to the human connection when branding, there are many similar rituals and efforts that take place:
• Look your best
• Smell your best
• Prepare to clearly communicate your message
• Show appreciation for each other
• Listen attentively
• Continue to reach out and connect on an ongoing basis
Ultimately, when branding a business, you are trying to make your customers fall in love with you. Just like that courtship. (Except in branding, you have to do this over and over to get more and more customers, when that is generally frowned upon in conventional romantic relationships.)
Fast forward from first date to fifth wedding anniversary
You’re going out tonight, but you’re not planning on showering. Shaving? Nah. You’re good. You’re just hitting up the drive thru, so this is one of those times where it’s perfectly acceptable to wear sweats to dinner.
You enjoy yourselves. Conversation is relaxed and happens naturally with little pre-thought. There is no need to confirm that you’re “all in” since you’re already married, and it’s expected that you’ll be with each other from here on out. While a little comfort is good, it’s also nice to mix things up every now and then so that boredom doesn’t set in too firmly.
When a company starts acting like they are married to their new customers (putting on sweats for dinner and choosing HBO over PDAs), it is time for a re-brand. You want your customers to feel excited about you so that they continue to come back and to send referrals your way.
Don’t settle in to that life of comfort. Court your customers, and reap the rewards for years to come.