When I was studying marketing many years ago, our lecturer told us that brand loyalty is dying. He was right.
At the time, I thought it was because customers are becoming more savvy. But the truth goes much deeper. The reason brand loyalty is dying, is because we’re failing to connect with our customers at a deep, emotional level.
I’ll talk more about this in a moment, but first I want to share something with you.
“You are my leftover lasagna”
A few days ago, a friend of mine opened up to me about the troubles she’s been having with her boyfriend’s parents.
“They’re openly opposed to the relationship,” she said. “And what’s more, they’re putting a lot of pressure on him to break off the relationship, which is making him miserable, because we are very much in love and don’t want to break it off. I really don’t know how to cheer him up.”
“What’s his favorite dish?” I asked.
She replied that it was lasagna.
So I suggested she prepare him a surprise dish of lasagna, then take a photo of him happily chomping away at it, and stick that photo to the refrigerator door. Next morning, she should remind him that he’s taking leftover lasagna with him to work, which should help him start his day in a good mood.
And finally, I suggested that once in a while, instead of saying, “I love you,” she should tell him, “You’re my leftover lasagna.”
Don’t get me wrong, the photo of him eating lasagna, and the endearing phrase I suggested will not be enough to solve the problem. But they’re an important step in building a strong bond between the couple, by eliciting positive emotions whenever the two think of each other.
Are you your customer’s “leftover lasagna”?
You might be wondering why a story about relationship troubles should be relevant to your situation as a business owner. I’ll tell you why.
Business IS about personal relationships.
People want relationships with other people, not with faceless companies. And you build those relationships by contributing to them not just on a business level, but also on an emotional level.
Whenever you communicate with your customers, and whenever your customers hear your name, you want two things to happen to them:
- you want them to feel a positive emotion and associate it with you
- you want them to remember a negative emotion they had, and feel gratitude towards you for saving them from that emotion
At every step of the way, you want to remind your customers of the benefits that your relationship brings, and how those benefits make them feel better about themselves. At the same time, remind them of the problems they had before they met you, and how miserable those problems made them feel.
Don’t shy away from the details either. Give them color and definition. Paint a strong, vivid picture and (metaphorically) stick it to their refrigerator door. Make sure they see it at every waking moment of every day if possible.
Jay Abraham says, “Make your clients revere your work.”
I’ll be presumptuous and take it a step further.
I say, you should make your customer revere your relationship.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have customers who will never want to leave. And those who eventually can no longer afford your services (and this will happen as you inevitable raise your rates), will come to you and say, “It was so much better with you.”