As a driven business owner looking to grow your profits, delivering a world-class service needs to be at the top of your priority list.
However, there’s one small problem –
When all of your major competitors are focused on the same thing, that sometimes isn’t enough.
The typical working relationship that we’re all used to is part of an outdated model. Right now, if you want to succeed in the modern market, you need to focus on customer intimacy.
It’s this very intimacy that’s the difference between you repeatedly churning short-term clients and nailing down long-term, profitable business relationships. And with that, comes huge profit potential.
To fully capitalise on business growth opportunities, you need to focus on customer intimacy. In this article, I’ll teach you what customer intimacy is, and give you 4 key tactics to help you incorporate it into your business. Read on to find out more.
How did Cartier manage to cut ahead of their competition, even though they were selling similar products? What enabled Apple to appear out of nowhere and instantly start stealing market share from Microsoft? What took Starbucks from a single Seattle coffee shop to a multinational corporation?
It all boils down to our key point – customer intimacy.
Customer intimacy makes you stand out. It’s the “in-joke” that people want to get. It makes people who aren’t working with you feel left out and want to be a part of things. It fuels accelerated lead generation and multiplies your client retention rates.
In short, if you’re looking to scale your business, customer intimacy is a must.
Customer intimacy is the concept of increasing revenue by making your clients feel close to your brand, executed by a focus on building individual relationships, creating solutions to customer problems and placing value in caring about them not as a marketing statistic, but as an individual.
For many years, I’ve been a firm believing in the following:
People don’t buy services. They buy solutions to problems.
This should be your first priority when creating any product offering. Before building out your business, ask yourself this:
What is the key problem that keeps my dream client up at night, and what can I do to solve it?
It might seem complicated, but it can be as simple as changing the copy in your marketing collateral to reflect benefits, instead of features.
Imagine you’re Cartier, trying to sell a $15,000 watch.
Feature: Our watch keeps time.
Benefit: Our watch keeps time, so you can focus on how you spend it.
See the difference? By tapping into the emotions of the target audience, we cultivate trust and make them feel closer to the brand.
As Cartier and other premium brands have been proving for decades, winning new clients doesn’t have to be a race to the lowest price. Contrary to popular belief, most professionals (at least the ones you should be targeting), aren’t scared of spending money.
They’re scared of spending money and not seeing a return.
By taking the time to understand your audience’s biggest problems and emotional motivations, you’ll build a value-focused service that they’ll place their trust in.
You’ll stop being seen as “just another service professional” trying to make a quick buck and become an individual who cares about the issues they’re facing and is willing to go above and beyond to help them fix it.
Your clients are individuals, and in order to build that all-important customer intimacy, you need to display that you understand who they are as a person, know their situation and what they want, and be able to connect with them on an emotional level. The first time you meet with them is the ideal opportunity to start this process.
Use Meetings to Your Advantage
When you try to sign a new client, what’s the first thing you do?
You book a meeting.
You’ve got them on the other side of the desk. Your pitch is all lined up. Now, you’re going to listen to what they want and put forward a proposal. Simple, right?
If you’re going into that meeting cold, with little personal knowledge about your client, knowing what they really want is going to be hard.
From the very start, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage, because the meeting is likely to be client-led, transactional, and lacking any kind of intimacy.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to fix this and make yourself stand out:
A few days prior to the meeting, send them a checklist requesting the information you want to know about them.
Position your checklist as an opportunity for your client to:
1) Gain perspective
2) Better understand their current situation and where they want to be
3) Identify potential obstacles and opportunities related to the result they want.
Now, you’ll have everything you need to build a proposal that’s tailored to your prospect’s unique situation, helping you to connect with them on an emotional level, build intimacy and vastly increase your chances of a sale.
By showing you understand their hopes, dreams, fears and problems, you’ll build trust. As we all know, trust is 40% of a sale.
When a client has a problem with your product or service, it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
It doesn’t matter how good your offering is – if you don’t get back to them quickly with a solution, you’ll destroy that hard-earned trust and intimacy that you’ve cultivated.
With that intimacy gone, they’ll be much more susceptible to the sales efforts of your competitors.
What would you do? Think about it:
You invest in a professional service. A few weeks pass, and your problem comes back, so you reach out to your provider.
After 48 hours, you haven’t heard back, and the issue you’re facing is costing you money. Do you wait around, or do you move on and find someone else who’s more responsive?
You need to tackle this before the problem arises. Commit to customer care, set up the infrastructure you need, and let your clients know that you will go above and beyond to make sure they’re happy.
When it costs 7x more to attract a new client than it does to retain an existing one, this is rooted firmly in your financial interests.
Expert tip: Intimacy is built between a client and the brand. That brand is built around your team. So, if you have employees, they should be on the front-line of customer care. Not only will this help build the connection and dedication they feel to your customers, but also help them understand your core client base.
As we scale our businesses, it’s easy to lose sight of our most important asset:
In order to keep business growth sustainable and low-risk, we need to remember who we’re serving.
Amazon have set the standard for customer focus with their Empty Chair technique. In every meeting they have, from junior management to board-level, a member of the team carries an empty chair into the room.
This chair represents the most important individual in the room – the customer.
It’s a simple trick, but it forces you to remind yourself that your focus should be on adding value to your existing client base and sparking that emotional relationship with new clients. Leave an empty chair in your office and remember what it’s there for.
You might be interested: 4 Little-Known Reasons Customer Experience is the Secret to Explosive Growth
Build the above strategies into the core of your business, and you’ll become recognised as a brand that clients want to work with. Start today and let me know how you get on.
Did you find this article useful? Like, comment and share!
Us service providers face our own set of challenges and I want to help. I’ve opened up my calendar for free 30-minute consultation calls 90 min a day, available to any of you who are struggling or facing uncertainty right in their own businesses right now.
This is an opportunity for you to speak openly about your business and receive objective but compassionate advice from a leading business sparring partner.
I’ve spent the past 10 years of my career helping service providers like you overcome adversity and tackle their challenges head-on. So, if you’re facing difficulties right now and want to speak, I’m here for you - book a call and we’ll get through this together!