Are You Connecting with Customers? Really Connecting…

Connecting with customers - are you doing it?Do you have any idea what really attracts customers to buy from you?

This is something that never really crossed my mind in the beginning.

Getting the money coming in was far more important to me, and probably to you too?

We walk around selling to our customers, but never really bother to take the time to step back and look at how we do it

Are you connecting with your customers?

Or are you just selling to them?

I will leave it up to you to decide what you do, but just selling does not work very well. If at all.

People today need more from us. They expect more. And if they don’t get it, they don’t buy.

So what does it take to connect with customers?

Let’s take a look.

Being Yourself is What Customers Want

You might have heard it before on your travels around the internet reading about online marketing.

Be yourself.

There is only one YOU.

People want to know more about you and your company.

This is probably one of the first things you have to realize when you try to change how you connect with your customers.

You are not just offering products and services to the world. YOU are offering them.

You have probably heard this saying before:

People buy from people, not companies

And in 2014, that has never been truer.

People will end up buying from you because they connect with you. Or more importantly, you connect with them.

They understand your point of view and values, and agree with them completely. They come to trust you too.

Sometimes You Get Great Advice

I had an an amazing chat over coffee with a local entrepreneur here in Switzerland recently.

While we were talking, so many things became clear to me about how I should be working with my clients.

But one thing really stood out.

A story he told me about his first client.

He was just starting out with his business and he met his client in a hotel foyer in the center of town.

After an hour of chatting and discussing business, they agreed to start working with each other.

As they both stood up to leave, the new client said to him

“Do you know why I decided to get in touch and do business with you”

“Of course” he said “It’s because of my skills, my knowledge and experience and…”

“No” interrupted the client “That is what I need, but not why I reached out to you. I contacted you because I believe what you believe.”

They had connected as people. They shared values and beliefs.

That is what we need to achieve.

Solving Their Problems is The Key

But it does not stop there. Connecting with your new customers by sharing common values is only the first step.

You also need to be solving their problems.

Just as people only buy from people, they are also looking for solutions to their problems.

This seems like a very obvious thing to say, but let’s look at an example of something we all have in common online…

A website.

I have been selling websites for quite a well now, but had it all wrong.

Here is what I normally sell when talking about websites:

  • Looks amazing
  • Secure
  • Fast
  • Easy to maintain
  • Mobile Ready
  • And other forgettable features…

Notice how I was only talking about features. Not problems and solutions.

What if I said to you that you I could bring you more customers to your struggling business and boost your profits each month?

I can get you more customers that you could possibly handle. Wouldn’t that get your attention?

And the cornerstone of that amazing promise would be a new website. (which is actually true)

I would probably need to convince you a little bit more, but ultimately what I am selling is not a website, but more customers.

You do have a website to attract and communicate with new customers. And to connect with these customers.

You do not need to have a fast, secure, mobile ready and stunning website just to show your Mom! (“Oh that’s nice honey, but what do you sell?”)

You are solving problems, not selling features.

Take a look at your sales pages from a buyers point of view.

What problems are you solving?

Are you just selling features?

Listening to Their Needs Comes First

Now they have started looking at what you sell to see if it solves their problems, things start moving forward.

Suddenly you get an email, or a phone call, and a potential client wants to know if you can help them.

So you start explaining how amazing your services are, and how fantastic the results you get can be.

Stop.

Before you launch into your cunningly crafted sales pitch, take a moment to listen to your potential client.

First you need to know what they need.

And sometimes, they also just want someone to listen. Someone who understands what they are going through, and need.

I find that many of my most excited customers are more or less convinced to buy from me before they contact me.

So start with listening to what they need, and when they are ready – give them a little more information on how you can solve their problems or fulfill their needs.

They are looking for a solution and they believe you can help them.

But you need to listen to exactly what they want, in order to fully connect with them.

So next time you get on a call with a potential customer, dive into their needs and problems first, before offering them anything.

It also helps you decide if you want to work with them.

Yes, it’s a win-win!

Selling Will Then Come Naturally

Many of my customers come to me completely out of nowhere, and I really have no idea why the choose me to solve their problems.

But once the conversation starts flowing, and we start getting to know one another often they say things which surprise me:

“You just seem to understand exactly what I need”

“You work with me, not for me”

“You understand what I am trying to achieve”

All of these kinds of comments came as a bit of a shock to me at first, but you start to understand after a while that they are a result of working with the right frame of mind.

Firstly you need to be yourself, and connect with your customers on a level that involves personal values.

Then once you have connected, you need to continue to listen and solve problems and fulfill needs rather than offer products with amazing features. (sure you need those kinds of products, but that is not what sells them)

Once you get connect with your customers,  they will keep coming back to you again and again.

About the Author Ashley Faulkes

I am an Aussie WordPress Web Designer living in Switzerland. My goal is to make your WordPress website awesome, and get you more customers via SEO and amazing content. I am also a huge fan of the outdoors, so I am often in the mountains doing crazy stuff. I discovered blogging and online marketing while recovering from a shattered leg I got while skiing, and I have not stopped learning since! Join me in reaching for the top!

follow me on:

15 responses to “Are You Connecting with Customers? Really Connecting…”

  1. Hi Ashley,

    It’s amazing, but this selling bit becomes easy when you learn to connect with people. Connecting is not easy at first, because it goes against much of our habit nature. Newbies – me included – are so excited, and out of control, that they lose their sense of balance.

    They talk about themselves, and their opportunity, and their services, and how great it is, and the excitement fuels more ego-centric, wild claims at worst, and simple, inward-thinking at best. This is a problem, because you can’t connect with others when you’re thinking about yourself all day long.

    Awesome, awesome post man, a must read for entrepreneurs. Why? You explain exactly what folks need to do to build emotional bonds with people, the types of bonds which help you detach from outcomes, and which allow business and clients to flow to you naturally.

    I love the belief point too; many of us have the skills to pay the bills, but a handful of people who succeed know that it takes more to land clients. When you vibe with someone on a deeper level, and share the same beliefs, you can quite easily move forward with a business partnership.

    It’s all about the connection.

    Love this post Ashley, thanks for sharing it.

    Tweeting through Triberr now.

    Ryan

  2. Hey Ashley,

    I really enjoyed this post. The thing about it is that yes people connect with people and will be more willing to purchase from people instead of companies, but those people have to be willing to let their personality show through. I think alot of people think that because they’re online and have a service they’re providing, they have to hide behind a lie. They have to say that they’re a business and “lie” that they have employees, etc to make it seem as though they’re more professional. When if they’re just upfront and honest and shows their personality from the beginning, they’ll succeed just the same or even have more success.

    Any business is like blogging, you have to build relationships in order to succeed. Just like the example you have with your friend, that person didn’t get the job because of their skills. Sure that was an added bonus, but they connected with the person. They talked and built a relationship with that person.

    More people need to recognize that’s what’s most important.

    Thanks for this great post. I’ll be sharing this.

    Have a great week.

    – Andrew

    • Hey Andrew
      It is interesting how some people think the web is somewhere where lies are ok and help you progress.
      That is one of the main reasons people find it so hard to succeed. Not only is their business based on nothing, but they also tell us things which are not true – like you can be a millionaire blogger.
      But once we discover the truth and make our way on the web with the right frame of mind, success is sure to come!
      thanks for dropping by
      ashley

  3. Peter Kanayo says:

    Ashley, really agree with the need to communicate benefit and not features.

    Features may be good for the tech world. But when it comes to the business world people are far more interested in how your service can help them.

    And what great way we can do this when we communicate benefit and not only that but by also engineering trust through communication

    • Thanks Peter
      sounds like I am preaching to the converted, but hopefully some new people gained value from my experience.
      I know that I was doing it wrong before, and have learnt the hard way through lack of customers.

  4. Kumar Gauraw says:

    Hi Ashley,

    What a timely topic and I tell you I can completely relate to that.

    Now let me tell you a little bit about myself. I am an engineer by background. Nobody in my family sold anything to anybody as a business. I never thought I could sell anything.

    Things changed when I started my business, in fact, a network marketing business to which I learnt business 101. I attended several training sessions on sales and I cannot forget a marvelous training I received by the author of the book, “Selling naked on phone”. He told that amateur people do feature selling, “I do this”, “I do that”, etc. while professionals connect and only try to offer a benefit or solve a problem, or, provide a solution.

    That training struck a chord with me and I have always used that principle since then. And I tell you, off-line or online, I have made just because I understood that nobody wants to be sold while everybody likes to buy.

    What you shared today is absolutely along the same lines. As long as people like you, trust you, they will do business with you and not just that, they will pay for business to you. It happens to me every time and I highly recommend people I coach to follow the same principles.

    Thank you very much for a tremendous reminder on the sales process and I appreciate you for sharing on this topic today. Especially, I enjoyed the story you shared about your friend.

    Have a wonderful weekend my friend! To your success!

    -Kumar

    • Hi Kumar
      It is not surprising that many people have found the same lessons, on their way to success.
      But at the same time, there are still too many people, like I was, trying to sell or simply sell features and things, and not solve problems and provide benefits.
      That is what people buy, even if they don’t realise it.
      Thanks for sharing your story Kumar, nice to learn a little more about your history

      ashley

  5. maxwell ivey says:

    Hi Ashley; when we met, you approached me after reading some of my blog comments so my experience is a bit different. but you did listen. You didn’t try to persuade me to turn the keys over to you and go back to not knowing how the car works choosing to just drive. You understood and accepted my desire to be able to maintain the site on my own if necessary. You found tools that would work with a screen reader. the jobs i didn’t want to do you did, but then you told me how you did them and gave me specific examples. sounds like we have a similar problem. you have trouble believing these things about yourself. I have trouble believing i am an inspiration but its a fact. you listen and give your clients as much or as little as they need. so glad we met my friend. here’s to us both having even more success, max

    • Hi Max
      Working closely with customers and really solving their problems is what I love.
      It is ok to think you can fire a generic solution at people, and you often can, but first you need to understand what it is they are trying to achieve and how it fits into the grand scheme.
      Your needs were very specific, but at the same time not unusual. I only had to listen to what you were trying to do with your website and business and we got there.
      Time seems to play a big roll max, and eventually we will all have more work than we can handle
      have a great week
      ashley

      • maxwell ivey says:

        Hi Ashley; yes you did listen. so many business people are so focused on the answer they don’t bother to find out what the question is. I know you are right about it all being a matter of time for both of us. I know that just the volume of work I am looking at right now, I have decided that as soon as funds allow I am going to turn over some of the control. I think I found a virtual assistant who will start working on all my pages to verify and help remove broken links. at first I’m not going to let them edit the site but after i work with them a while I may allow that too. I have decided that I no longer want to edit my posts all by myself. Lorraine has been after me to hire her full time or at least have her review all my posts and I’m looking forward to doing that. I wouldn’t have thought I could. I think its the good experiences I’v had letting other people in that have lead to this. that plus I just now I can’t keep doing it all myself. thanks for the post. You gave some great advice my friend, max

  6. Neena says:

    Hi Ashley,
    I wholeheartedly agree that listening is one of the most important skills that an entrepreneur must have.
    As a consumer I want personalized service from someone that understands me, as a person, and my business.
    “One size fits all service” no longer works in today’s environment.
    Excellent article!

    • Thanks Neena
      That is so true. It is no longer the case that we can just hope to get customers, we have to work for them and cater to their specific needs!

  7. Lynne says:

    Loved the post. Loved what you said “They had connected as people. They shared values and beliefs.” I agree that this is a great way to connect with customers for them to believe in your business. Also listening to your customes is always a first for me.

  8. People buy from those that they trust. Trust is based on engagement and building of relationships. People buy from big brands because they have faith in them, everyone knows them. For bloggers, a brand needs to be built and this is going to take time. If you don’t take the time to get to know your readers and connect with them, they will be unlikely to buy from you.

    I also love how you mentioned to ‘listen’ to your clients. You can’t provide them what they need if you don’t truly listen.

    Tweeting now though Triberr :-)

    • Thanks for your comment Catherine, sorry for the late reply.

      Making a name for yourself sure does take time, and patience. But once it comes it is worth it.

      And listening to customers, or even your readers is key!