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It's Only Common Sense
By Dan Beaulieu
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It’s Only Common Sense: Don’t Just Sell the Product, Sell the Company
For a long-term synergistic relationship, an actual partnership with your customer, it is much better to “sell the company” than just the product. By selling your company’s culture, you get your customers to love doing business with you. It’s the very best way to develop relationships.
We’ve all heard about companies with cult-like followers. Certainly, Apple comes to mind. What other company has customers standing in line overnight for their latest products? Are their products really that much better than the competitions? No, not really. They’ve created what Seth Godin calls a “tribe” of loyal customers. In fact, maybe “apostles” is a better word to describe many Apple customers.
Selling your company’s culture, partnerships, and chemistry rather than just the product itself is a strategic approach that can foster long-term relationships and brand loyalty. Of course, it also minimizes the risk of competitors invading the account. The important thing is to create and highlight this kind of culture and promote it to your customer base. Here are some things to consider.
One of the most successful and effective ways to promote your culture is through storytelling. Think of Apple’s story. Most of their customer base can retell their story right down to what college Steve Jobs attended, and how Steve and Jony Ive worked for hours on the box for the original iPods. These Apple stories represent the best way to create a public company culture that everyone wants to be a part of.
Always be genuine in everything you do. Be real as they say. Be human and humane. Give of yourself and your company to the customer. Always err in favor of the customer.
Think in terms of you and your customer. Do everything to create a sense of togetherness in everything you do. Really look out for your customers. Give them the feeling you are both sitting on the same side of the table. All decisions should be made for the good of you and your customers.
Be a true partner in every sense of the word. Be one that your customer-partner will turn to when things are tough and will celebrate with you when things are going great. Remember, “It’s amazing how much gets done when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Don’t forget to share some great partnership stories. You should be using examples of these stories in all your media.
You must be great to be admired. You must be better than everyone. None of this will work if you are not a great company, producing a great product. That’s a given. No one will buy into your company’s culture if you are not great. It’s just too much of a reach.
Share a long-term mutual vision with your customers. Coordinate and align your visions. If you want a long-time relationship with a customer, you must both be going in the same direction. The true sign of a great vendor partner is one that aligns its future with the future of the customer.
In all that you do, you must communicate with your current customers, especially your target customers. They must know all about your company and why they want to be part of your company’s customer base. Make sure they know everything they should about your company.
People don’t typically learn about a company’s culture by accident. You must market your company in such a way that your company’s story, culture, and chemistry are all evident in your advertising and social media. Your website needs to be filled with stories about your company and its culture, as is your social media and your advertising. You must show the world that you’re a great company to do business with.
All Hands on Deck
Creating a great company culture, one that others will envy and want to join, is a full company program. Everyone in the company must have buy-in by believing in the company and its greatness. As leaders, it is our job, mission, and vision to fully educate employees when it comes to your company culture. From their first day on the job, teach them what the company is about and what makes it great. Help them feel it in their bones. When they do, they will simply exude your company culture.
These are just a few of the actions and characteristics of creating a great company culture, one that your customers will want to partake in. This will ensure that your company’s story and culture is so engaging that customers will want to buy into the company.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Marketing Group.
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