This Valentine’s Day, everyone is trying to brainstorm ways to engage in more meaningful relationships with those they care about the most.
We’re not trying to get mushy, here. We’re strictly talking about the relationship between business owners and their customers.
In order to get in the spirit, we asked 25 friends of Nimble to share their favorite tips on how to effectively communicate with your customers, to stay top-of-mind while driving sales, and to generate repeat business to grow in 2020.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
“We win the hearts of our customers the same way we win the heart of a sweetheart! Be transparent, honest, responsive, and engaged. Don’t tell them you care about them — SHOW them. Actions speak louder than words in any relationship; whether intimate, family, friend, colleague, or customer. Showing up and delivering on-promise builds trust, and without trust, there is no relationship or loyalty.”
-Tamara McCleary, CEO of Thulium.
Connect with Tamara on Linkedin.
Don’t Do Too Little Too Late
“Are you showing your customers that you care?
When sales organizations don’t talk to their customers until it is time to renew, it’s often too late. By then, your customers already know that it’s their money, not their success that is important to you. Make it part of your sales process to check with your customers to ensure the solution is working for them.
“It’s also important to talk to them about what other problems they have that you might be able to help them solve. If you aren’t showing them the love, your competitors will be. Before you know it, they won’t be your customers anymore.
- Check in to make sure your solution is working the way the customer needs it to.
- See if there are other business issues the customer is having that you can solve.
- If they are having issues you can’t solve, connect them with people who can help them solve those problems.
- Don’t just check with “your guy.” Check with all the critical buying influences to make sure you are delivering results that matter to the organization.
Win the hearts of your customers by showing that you care about them, their problems, and their success all the time — not just when it’s time to renew.”
-Liz Heiman, Chief Sales Strategist of Alice Heiman LLC
Make it All About Them
“I always like to say that marketing is more about BEING than it is about DOING.
To win the hearts of your customers, you have to have ‘winning the heart of your customer’ as a goal. The next thing you have to do is choose exactly what matters to your customer and consistently deliver on that promise using your chosen marketing strategy. If it’s content, maybe you provide helpful videos or articles. If it’s paid advertising, make that click pay off for THEM by creating a killer offer that they can’t resist. If it’s ‘direct marketing,’ then consistently deliver helpful tips and give them opportunities to ask questions that you answer and respond to.
“The way to WIN your customers’ hearts is to be relentlessly consistent and delivering the kinds of experiences that build on that know-like-and-trust factor.
It doesn’t matter what strategies or tactics you use as long as what you do and who you are shows your customers how committed you are to them.”
-Ivana Taylor, Publisher of DIYMarketers
Connect with Ivana on Twitter.
Surprise Them with Something From the Heart
“Show your customers a little love by sending a short appreciation video. There are plenty of great programs out there that allow you to film and send a personalized message. By the way, personalized is the key. Make it about you appreciating them specifically. Use their name, something you know about them, add the little touches. Of course, if it’s appropriate, have some fun with it. My two favorite video programs are BombBomb for smaller companies and vidREACH for larger companies.”
– Shep Hyken, Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations
Connect with Shep on Linkedin.
It’s Okay to Be Human
“At the end of my book, The Marketing Rebellion, I urge businesses to be more human. I think that really is the key. Not just stock photo humans, but available, connected, perhaps even vulnerable. Look for opportunities at every customer touchpoint to show your face, your smile, and your passion for what you do!”
– Mark Schaefer, Executive Director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions
Follow Mark’s blog here.
Be an Attentive Listener
“If you want to win the hearts of your customers, pay attention and engage with them on social media. Whether it’s an individual or a whole company, make sure you are tracking their activity and engaging with regularity. This should include liking their posts, but better if you can leave a thoughtful comment or even share their posts with your audience. In addition to positive sentiment, it will also keep you top of mind with them for referrals, upgrades, and renewals. It’s a win/win that will win their hearts!”
– Viveka von Rosen, Chief Visibility Officer of Vengreso
Connect with Viveka on Linkedin.
Help Them Achieve Their Goals
“Being a resource for your clients can be just as valuable as solving problems and challenges that they face. Beyond sharing content [on your social media accounts] around your features and benefits, consider curating content around industry insights and valuable tips and strategies that are meaningful to your clients.
In addition, engage in the content they are sharing. If you engage through comments, likes, and shares, you bring another level of value to them.”
– Brynne Tillman, CEO of Social Sales Link
Connect with Brynne on Linkedin.
Show ‘em Off, a Little
“Show your love for your customers by including them in your social media content. Reach out to your followers and encourage them to send you photos of them using your product or service or search social media for favorable mentions of your company and leverage this user-generated content.
“Use social media not as a place to promote and broadcast but as the ultimate arena to deepen relationships with your customers and other influencers that can then tell the world about how great your company is.”
-Neal Schaffer, President of PDCA Social
Connect with Neal on Linkedin.
It’s Really That Simple
“Do great work. Over-deliver. Follow up with customers when you DO NOT need them. Be grateful. Send a thank you card.”
– Ramon Ray, Founder and Editor of Smart Hustle Media
Connect with Ramon on Twitter.
Sweep Them Off Their Feet
“Winning customer love takes more than just one thing, it requires romance.
Here are three ways to do just that:
- Empathy to understand what customers really want, where and how, not just what the brand wants to promote.
- An experience that gives customers what they want and delivers at or above expectations, consistently.
- Brand values that align with customers. Whether it’s involvement in the community or other causes, today’s customer wants to know brands stand for something bigger than products and services.”
– Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing
Connect with Lee on Twitter.
Keep the Romance Alive
“Stop chasing the latest trend or platform, whether it’s social media, CRM or something else. Think about their needs first, and how you meet those needs. If you’re truly customer-centric, then you need to consider how to make their lives easier and solve their problems. This requires listening with an open mind and a willingness to incorporate their feedback, not simply replying with your solution.
“Remember that the sale is not the final stage of your relationship. You need to keep that relationship going. Your customers came to you for a reason. Keep giving them the same reason over and over again.”
– Scott Monty, Principal of Scott Monty Strategies
Connect with Scott on Twitter.
Let Them Know You Care
“One of the things my clients always love about working with me is that I check-in frequently. Even when I had 250,000 customers, I was always asking them how their lives were and how could I help them improve, grow, and evolve. Years later, I received great feedback from many who received those messages over the years.”
– Mitch Russo, President of Mindful Guidance LLC
Put Their Needs First
“My #1 tip for business owners looking to win the hearts of their customers is to be CUSTOMER-FOCUSED. And not in some willy-nilly way, but to truly put the customer first.
A big shift we’re seeing at B Squared Media, for instance, is that our high-volume clients are investing in customer care through social media. Since their internal teams are inundated handling calls and emails, we’re stepping in to help them manage customer service requests and complaints on social. This has made VAST improvements to their response time on social but has also allowed them to focus on GOOD comments and content on social media, too.
“So not only are they showing they care, increasing loyalty, and reducing churn, they’re now also focused on user-generated content and pinpointing brand advocates. This is something brands spend a lot of money on, by the way. Imagine spending that money on improving customer service and getting those results anyway; super-efficient, smart, and a great way to differentiate your company considering most brands still aren’t responding in a timely manner online.
Who doesn’t love a good win-win-win?? Investing more in your social channels and customer care efforts will definitely get you the W.”
– Brooke B. Sellas, Founder & CEO of B Squared Media
Connect with Brooke on Twitter.
Get Creative in Your Gratitude
“Show gratitude and do it in a big way. Don’t send a thank you email, send a thank you video. Don’t send a handwritten thank you note, send a thank you gift.
Do something original, something weird. Send them a custom-printed sequin pillow with their logo on it (not yours) and they’ll never forget it. Being different and standing out is simple: just do what no one else does. What’s the saying? ‘The key to her heart is an unexpected gift at an unexpected time.’”
– Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder/CMO of Orbit Media Studios
Connect with Andy on Linkedin.
Take the Time to Personalize
“Send a handwritten thank you note!”
– Dianna Geairn, The Irreverent Sales Girl
Connect with Dianna on Twitter.
Make Their Time Count
“My advice to all my small business clients and followers is to be sincere with all your customers and always provide a fabulous customer experience. Take time to listen to them, engage with them, and make that time count. They will appreciate your effort.”
– Brian Moran, CEO of Small Business Edge
Connect with Brian on Twitter.
Personalize Your Outreach
“One of the most effective ways to win the hearts of your customers is to provide them with personalized experiences whenever they interact with your business, whether it’s via email, your website or blog, phone, social media, or any other channel you’re using to communicate with your audience.
“By personalizing all of these communications, you can offer them a completely authentic and personal experience — one that will help boost their loyalty to your brand and make them want to buy from you and recommend you to their friends and family.”
– Lilach Bullock, Content Marketing Expert at Lilach Bullock
Connect with Lilach on Twitter.
Be Sensitive to Their Needs
“The key to winning the hearts of our customers is by listening to them. There’s no better way to find out what your customers really need than by talking to them. Actions speak louder than words; be human, ask questions, be genuinely interested, and adjust your product/services to the actual needs of your customers.”
-Eamon Moore, CEO and Founder of Hikari
Don’t Try Too Hard
“People don’t buy great products — they buy better versions of themselves. To win the hearts of your customers, you need to stop selling. Start talking about how you can help people become better, smarter, faster. If your goal in life is to serve others and help them grow instead of making as much money as you can off prospects, you can’t help but win.”
It’s the Basics that Win Games
Prepare for Your Meetings
“It’s my experience in life that the biggest cause of business failure is lack of preparedness before a meeting combined with the lack of follow up and follow through after a meeting. Your reputation is built on the promises you make and the experiences you deliver.”
“Take the time to study who someone is and what their business is about before every meeting. Start by connecting on some commonalities to break the ice and earn a little intimacy and trust. We all connect on shared commonalities in life. I call them the five F’s of life: family, friends, food, fun, and fellowship. After connecting, ask some well-prepared questions about the person and their company, then be quiet and listen to learn ways to add value.”
“After the meeting, be sure to follow up and follow through on the promises you make. It’s the basics that win games and people quickly lose trust when promises are broken.”
– Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble
Mix Business with Pleasure
“Winning the heart of your customer means showing you care. I do things like remembering to ask about their kids and special events in their life they have shared. I send handwritten notes on special occasions and for no reason at all.
I think one of the things my clients like best is that I send them articles that I find when I am reading that I know would be of interest to them and they are not always on business topics. All these things let them know that I know them and I am thinking of them well beyond trying to sell them something.”
– Alice Heiman, Founder and Chief Sales Officer of Alice Heiman LLC
Celebrate Their Successes
“This is a great question because it first assumes that a business *wants* to win the hearts of their customers. One might think that’s an obvious truth, but it’s not. Not really. Many business owners, frankly, aren’t interested in winning the hearts of their customers. Just winning their wallets.
So the first step is to implement a change in mindset and attitude. Winning the hearts of your customers is critical to long term growth and success! A heart-filled customer will talk about your brand positively, be more open to repeat business, and be far more forgiving and generous when mistakes are made.
“A business that isn’t trying to win those hearts is quite literally leaving money on the table. So, with that in mind, just how do you win someone’s heart as a business?
It’s not with discounts or gifts or gimmicks. They say you can’t buy love, and it’s true. You really can’t. I have no extra loyalty to the brand that sent me a notebook. That’s not what will get me caring about them.
Instead, what you have to do is position your brand and products to help a customer achieve success and then be there with them when they do it.
Of course, I don’t mean literally be physical with them (unless that’s the nature of your service), but rather, make sure that you’re equipping the customer appropriately and then celebrating with them when they get there.
“You’re selling something to someone that allows them to do something… are you providing them with all the material and insight and support they might need, just when they need it? This requires careful consideration of what the customer will be doing and, frankly, having conversations with your existing customers.
You might need to create more documentation, FAQs, emails, videos, and other messages. It might require having a Customer Success team that reaches out at the right time, or in-app tips that pop up and prompt and guide where needed.
And most importantly, you must identify exactly when each customer will have achieved success. Is it the moment they purchase whatever you’re selling? Not likely. It might be days, weeks or even months later, depending on the scenario.
“For physical products, this will take some guesstimation as you’ll have no real idea when someone uses your product, whereas SaaS companies have a distinct advantage here. At Agorapulse, for instance, we can track exactly which actions an individual takes, from connecting a profile to publishing their first post, and we know the point at which someone will feel success AND the point at which an engaged trial user will have done enough within the app to feel confident and secure in paying for a subscription.
Armed with this knowledge, we’re able to convert more prospects into customers and keep more and more customers from churning. And as a result, our customers love us and are more than happy to sing our praises online.”
– Mike Allton, Brand Evangelist of Agorapulse
Connect with Mike on Twitter.
Inspire Others Through Your Actions
A customer-centric mindset is no longer a nice to have — it is a must-have for business success. Fostering a culture where everyone is obsessed with providing the best solutions and services for customers starts at the top. Thoughtful leadership is infectious and will prove itself on the frontlines when employees engage with customers.
– Rachel Miller, Global Influencer Marketing Lead at SAP
Connect with Rachel on Twitter.
Accept and Address All Feedback
“Always listen — and respond to — customer feedback, whether positive or negative. They will tell you what you’re doing well and not so well in your business, which is critical intelligence. And when you show some love and appreciation by responding to them, they’ll love you back!”
– Dan Gingiss, Chief Experience Officer at The Experience Maker LLC
Connect with Dan on Linkedin.
Empathy is Key
“Demonstrate empathy! Treat each and every customer like they’re the most important person you’ll communicate with on that day. Personalize your interactions with everyone you meet, and look out for their interests first.”
– Chris Strub, CEO of I Am Here LLC
Connect with Chris on Twitter.
Invest in the Relationship
Winning the heart of your customer may seem like a daunting feat, but there’s actually quite an intuitive strategy. Humanize yourself and your brand in order to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with your customers and to generate repeat business. Using these road-tested tips from industry leaders, you’re sure to leave a lasting impression on
How will you will the hearts of your customers?