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Love in Business

Everything I do, I do it for you

Oooh sweet! It’s that time of year again and love is in the air! It occurred to me that running a business is very like having a relationship. Both need an awful lot of tender loving care in order to be productive, so I decided to lay down some sizzling hot tips for you on this blog that you can ‘bare’ in mind in the run up to the big day.

You want a successful business. That’s perfectly natural. Just remember that anyone can sell anything. eBay is populated by the proof of this. It’s the intangibles, by which I mean the quality of the experience, which will keep your customers coming back to you for more. How exactly do you make your customer feel? How do you want them to feel when they shop with you? Do you even know or care?

Just like when you’re in a relationship, you need to know and you need to care what your customers think and feel. You want happy, happy, happy customers who will give you positive feedback. You want those customers drooling over your products and you want them to feel special. Like they mean something to you. So your attitude and the quality of the sales experience are vitally important.

Love your customer!

When you’re selling online, think of it as flirting. You tempt the customer with tantalising descriptions of fripperies and fragrant fancies, trinkets and trifles (or washing machines, or dresses, or DVDs or whatever you sell) and then you tickle their taste buds with a price they just can’t resist.

If you sell face to face, or you have plenty of repeat custom, then flirting is even more important. You forge a relationship with these people. You remember who they are, ask after their families, their football team or their health. Try and remember little details. Anything that makes them think you care about them and your relationship.

Maybe on Valentine’s evening you’ll take your loved one out to dinner or cook something special for them. Conversation, you hope, will be free and easy and flow like god wine. The same needs to happen with your business relationship. Talk to your customers, but most importantly, listen to what they say to you. Besides making the appropriate responses and nodding at key moments, if you actually take the time to listen you may hear something that will really help you in the future. Maybe the customer likes a product you have but they would prefer another brand, or they want more of a similar item. They may indirectly provide you with feedback that will help you to improve your customer service and the business experience overall and this in turn will help you make more profit.

Weigh it up

What are the advantages?

Be nice! As lovers we spoil each other and care about what happens. With your business customers you should do the same. Be as helpful as you can possibly be. If your customer can’t find something, help them find it, even if it means sending them up the road or straight to your supplier. Remember that people will tell their friends ‘oh s/he was so helpful. A really lovely person!’ and they will come back to you. If somebody asks you to do something special, really try your very best to do it. The customer will be grateful and they will remember.

Provide a little extra. This is important especially if you sell online because it can be such an anonymous and bland experience. There is nothing worse than receiving a badly wrapped package with a hand written label on it that is badly spelt. That is not the sort of experience your customer wants. They want to feel special and cherished. Put a little extra something in the package even if it’s a business card, a post card, neatly typed additional information, a hand written thank you note or a little gift; just something that will make them smile. If you sell gifts, clothes, toys etc., perhaps consider wrapping them nicely in tissue paper and using good quality packaging.

It’s all about your passion for business

In a relationship honesty is always the best policy. You need to be honest with your customer. Don’t ever lie and don’t make promises you can’t keep. You need to be seen as reliable and credible. If you start to lie you won’t be. If you make a saving when you buy some stock then pass some of those savings onto your customers. Customers, like lovers, aren’t daft. They will know when they are being had, and they really won’t appreciate it. If you pick up 10, 000 Lance Armstrong DVDs for practically nothing, then sell them for very little too!

If you get any complaints, take them seriously. You may dismiss complaints as moaning or nagging. That’s what happens in relationships and you can’t please all the people all the time, right? Wrong. Complaints are a warning shot across your bows. You need to sit up and listen and solve the problems now before they can escalate. Learn how to apologize. This is something that is vitally important in all relationships. It can mend a great deal of hurt, just to be able to say ‘sorry’ in a timely and sincere way. Then make it up!

Finally, consider this. Just like your lover, your customer has to be happy in order for your relationship to survive. Once the relationship goes down the pan, your profit will follow and so will your business. There are plenty of competitors out there willing to exploit your demise. You need to think of your competitors as rivals in love and do everything you can to protect what you are most passionate about: your business!

So, what are you waiting for? Get wooing Romeo!

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