Note to myself: My business is how I make my customer feel
“My business is how I make my customer feel.”
Our business is actually not about the strategies we create, the workshops we facilitate, the content we produce, the marketing or advertising campaigns we do for or on behalf of our customers.
What our customer companies buy from us are actually not the transactions of payment and the following physical outcomes.
First of all, it’s never the company who buys. It’s a person who is able to use company money to purchase solutions for their needs.
Therefore, what is really for sale is how our customer-person will feel after the project has been finished and handed over to the customer-person.
And in longer projects, how each encounter within the collaboration makes the customer-person feel about what just took place.
How I helped myself as an introvert to be more present for my customers
I’m actually an introvert. I’m most comfortable when the focus is on the substance matter, not on random chit chat.
It’s a struggle for me to remember to make an effort for occasional chit chat is. But I must admit, I’m not really good at it.
So what has helped me tremendously has been to understand that how the customer feels can also be a “substance matter” I can excel in. What I mean is that in addition to selling and delivering a tangible product, I’m also selling another product called feelings.
And when I work on those feelings of my customer-person, he or she is likely to appreciate my role in their life much more. Meaning, they are likely to use the company money to time with me instead of time with someone else.
Sell the vision of how you make your customer feel
I’m a huge fan of the work of a US entrepreneur and author Donald Miller. I found his work a few years ago. I have studied storytelling for a long time and a few years back he came up with a formula called StoryBrand.
I’ve interpreted his messages to this conclusion: as an entrepreneur, I’m not selling my products, I’m selling strong feelings.
Why I’m telling you this is that I just finished nearly a 2,5 hour sparring session – remote on Teams, as it’s corona time – with a customer-person.
Everytime when after the session he sends me an invitation to the next session, he writes how again, it was such a great session and how inspired and energized he was after the session.
At the end of this last session, we talked about these emotional reactions. Not to that word, but the topic of how these sessions make him feel. And it really hit me: it’s the after wave that produces him the most value.
You are the guide to your customer-person
Donald Miller’s StoryBrand formula positions you as the guide to your customer-person. I’m emphasizing the person here because often times I feel like we forget we are not catering to the company, we are catering to a person who uses company money to solve their work-related problems.
Miller positions you and me as the guides to our customer-people. In this very important role, our job is to build our customer-person’s faith in their ability to survive and thrive (Miller’s words).
When the struggle is big enough, customer-person knows they cannot survive and thrive without some help.
So they need someone, like a personal trainer. Someone who once was there where you are now. And because they know how to get out, they can give you that exit plan.
My customer-person sought my help to eat the monster
This customer-person of mine had agreed to a long list of huge expectations when he accepted the job. Don’t get me wrong. He loves his job!
He is the kind of person who thrives when he’s thrown into deep sand and has to become the Bear Grylls of his life to get out.
The thing here was, that he didn’t have the same tool kit as Bear Grylls has. So while the huge monster really excited him, he didn’t quite know how to eat the monster. He turned to me.
Your customer only buys when they have a real struggle
We all take free advice willingly. But we only buy when there is a real need to survive or thrive (again, Miller’s catchy words, not mine. I just love them!).
When we struggle to survive, we are overwhelmed, worried, stressed out, even scared.
When we need to thrive, we yearn for a self-confidence boost or heavy lift on the meaning of work -side. We want to feel more appreciated and valued and empowered to conquer all. That’s why we welcome those people in our lives who can inspire us to be better versions of our selves.
Our customer-person needs a logical solution outlined from us in the form of a proposal or an offer to get the money.
But really, what helps you to make the sell is when you are able to describe how they will feel after you have helped them.
Do you aspire to move your business from the price-ladder to the value-ladder?
Then you must paint your customer-person a vision of how they will feel once they choose you to help them.
I might be selling my customer company regular sparring, but I’m really selling my customer-person the following examples of real outcome after every session (he tells me this every time):
- How he becomes so inspired to act.
- How he gains so much energy to move the next mountain.
- How he is able to put his own thoughts into an organized framework and build bigger and bigger wholes.
- How our sessions make him feel professionally stronger and more capable.
- How he wants more of this and can’t wait for the session next month, because he needs to have this feeling in order to thrive.
Instead of selling, for example, a workshop and the documented outcome of a workshop, think about the outcome your customer-person is going to gain when they choose to buy your workshop.
Remember, it is not the customer company who buys. It’s the customer-person who buys. And they buy either to survive or thrive.