Since January 2005, I’ve been spent a lot of time explaining how Business is Personal.
When I started this journey way back then, I named the blog “Pancake Bunny“.
I called it that as a result of a customer service interaction where a company’s CEO told a customer that their message made no sense and then included the pancake bunny in their reply (click here to see the original pancake bunny).
It struck me that I had work to do.
Not solely because of the bunny remark, but because of a pervasive antagonistic attitude toward customers – especially by many in tech-related industries (remember, Ive been in the software biz since 1982).
Nine Hundred Eighty Five
Nine hundred and eighty four times I have posted here in order to teach this one important lesson. This one is number 985.
I’ve shared little anecdotes here and there, stories, admonitions, an occasional rant or two – whatever it takes to make you and your staff attract, sell, talk to, think about and work with your customers as if they are real people.
Like your grandma. Imagine that.
That lady you were snarky with on the phone this morning is probably someone’s grandma, or mom or something. Would you talk that way if she were in front of you? Hopefully you aren’t the snarky one in the first place and that was intended for someone else cuz you’d never do that.
I know that in many cases I am preaching to the choir, but I also know that many people have related personally to a story here and it has changed their business. They have finally seen how treating their clientele like a friend, a partner, a family member – changes their business.
Others have finally figured out that hiding from their customers, treating them poorly (if they treat them at all) and thinking “Damn, if those customers didn’t keep interrupting me I’d get some REAL work done” is not how business is done.
Instead, it’s how your “Dear Valued Customer” becomes someone else’s.
If you haven’t gotten that yet, today might be your lucky day.
Enter Mister Butts
Earlier today I got an email from a Twitter acquaintance named Rick Butts. He’s one of those internet marketer types (and he just winced when he read that – sorry Rick).
EXCEPT, he isn’t like many of them. He’s a regular guy who gets the Business is Personal thing.
If after reading Rick’s email, you don’t understand why you simply have to treat someone who is viewing your blog, your newsletter, walking into your store, calling you on the phone, or tweeting you *like your grandmother*, then I suggest going back to post #1 and read a few posts a day.
I can’t help but think it’ll help.
Here’s Rick’s email. Enjoy.
I Am Joeâ??s Email List – An Open Letter To Internet Marketers
I am Joeâ??s email list.
Joe calls me his list, his peeps, and sometimes just â??the list.â?
But, I am not a list, really, I am not a crowd, or an audience. I am not â??everyone out thereâ? as they teach new broadcasters to say.
I am me.
One single person with hopes, dreams, stresses and fears.
In many ways I am just like you – the way you describe yourself in your hungry years before you went to that life changing event, read the book, and started making money online.
I get email from you Joe.
I canâ??t remember for sure, but I think I â??joinedâ? one day when you offered a free report or video and I had to put my email address in – and confirm – in order to see it.
In my inbox, Joe, your email looks just like the personal emails I get from my daughter or son, and sometimes, sadly, from my ex.
Now that youâ??ve been sending me email – as well as some of your â??good friendsâ? – I have begun to be able to see in a glance that they are just offers, sometimes disguised as important messages, sometimes blatantly, not.
Whenever I see the word â??thisâ? in your subject lines, like – â??this wonâ??t last longâ? – or â??have you seen this?â? I know itâ??s an offer.
Since the Product Launch Formula I and especially II – Iâ??m amazed at how many times per month I am literally inundated with emails from so many people all about the same exciting product.
They arrive over multiple days, culminating in a bonus orgy that is just overwhelming.
I read a clever post in a forum once, that â??the bonuses are so comprehensive, it makes me wonder what is covered in the course, that is not already covered in the bonuses!â?
That made me laugh.
Iâ??m writing you today, to share something important about myself – and I hope youâ??ll take the time to consider my feelings, ok?
I have to get off of some of these lists.
The volume of email and the distraction of chasing the offers is just crippling my time, my focus, and my ability to get things done.
When Rick Butts asked his readers to consider unsubscribing from the people who sent you Stompernet Launch offers IF they had not provided any useful content in the last month – he really got me thinking.
Then Ed Dale made a video saying, basically, that no one is holding a gun to your head and that if you wanted to stop getting offers – stop bitching – and just unsubscribe.
But hereâ??s the deal. Iâ??d LIKE to learn from you Joe – and to be able to know that being on â??your listâ? is valuable to me, my business, and my future.
So, please donâ??t think me a big whiner, Iâ??m a customer, and hereâ??s what I respectfully request:
1. Slow down the frequency of mailing to me, Joe.
Do not email me every day – thatâ??s just way too much now.
2. Donâ??t mail me offers all the time.
Iâ??m reading a lot more RSS feeds from bloggers who are putting out great content. If you are using Feedburner or Feedblitz or Aweberâ??s blog notification service that mails me when you update your blog – then, cool. Iâ??m good with that.
3. If you do mail me an offer PLEASE donâ??t cut and paste the pre-written one from the creator of the product.
Do you know how stupid that makes you look to me? And, how insulting it is to get them from multiple people?
4. Try giving me some TRUTHINESS in your communiques to me.
If you are really making money in the non-marketing-to-Internet-marketers, then tell me some useful tips that are working for you. No, you donâ??t need to tell me your market niche but hey, every once in a while how about your show me how valuable I am to you buy sharing one of those SECRETS?
5. Show me some stuff that made less than $1,000,000.00.
Iâ??d be immensely interested in real world examples of success I can get my head around. Iâ??m never going to build a big list of â??biz-opâ? peeps and hammer them with a big JV launch. Show me how I can make $500 a week – then be able to replace my income and quit my skank job.
6. Stop bragging about your zero-gravity dives and how you are spending my money in outrageous ways.
Trust me, this is a lot more fun for you, then it is for me to read about it. You may excuse it as â??inspirationalâ? but I dontâ?? even think that works in MLM anymore. It just annoys me. A little â??high lifeâ? goes a long way and Iâ??m more impressed by how Internet marketing lets you enjoy your family.
7. Please, please, please, for the love of God, stop participating in these dreadful launches!
Let me believe you are successful enough without having to bend over and schlup me and the rest of my list mates through your embarrassing attempt to get me to â??buy from youâ? and help you win a contest.
The reason Rick Butts wrote about the 12 Biggest Whores, without naming anyone, is that we have all watched the emergence of about that many well known marketers who cross-promote each others stuff so regularly it is hard to imagine that they do anything else.
I think that gives you a pretty good idea of the kind of things that would make getting email from you valuable again – and persuade me not to unsubscribe from you forever.
The blowback from the â??unsubscribeâ? and â??launch fatigueâ? has been to accuse me and my list mates, the little people, of being whiners.
And while there is no shortage of whiners in the world, I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart – I am pleading with you to not dismiss me so easily.
What most of us really want is for you to provide us with value, treat us like a long term relationship, and we will, certainly reward you for helping us get to the next level.
Now back to check my email, I think thereâ??s a Traffic Secrets 2.0 launch today?
I have this vendor who makes me a little bit nuts.
When communicating with them, I feel like I’m trying to get my golf clubs from an ex-wife who hates me.
You know how it goes… If I ask her the wrong way, she’ll wrap them around a tree in the front yard and say “Here ya go, honey!”
Result: I ask very delicately.
I can’t imagine why anyone would purposely position their clients like that, so I have little choice but to believe they are unaware of this situation. I have no idea how that could be, but you knew that already.
Trouble is, when you’re in that sort of position, you really can’t even suggest to them that they might address the issue. Back to the golf clubs.
So what do I do? Mostly, I’m forced to ignore it because I can’t do anything about it.
What about you?
Do you have a critical path vendor that makes you feel that way?
If so, did you find a new critical path (not just a vendor, a whole path) or do you just put up with it because you can’t get that one thing anywhere else?
In my digging around, I hear the latter most of the time and I just don’t get it.
Today’ s guest post is once again from Seth Godin.
I’ll warn you, the video is a tad more than an hour long.
If you don’t have an hour to “get” this stuff, you don’t really care much about your business.
Maybe you don’t need the entire hour. That’s OK (and if so, you’ll probably watch the whole thing despite that.)
Maybe you’ll get it by the end of the Seth buys Joel’s software story. I hope so.
If it takes longer, that’s OK.
For those who are not yet convinced about my repeated discussions about nurturing customer relationships, building a “cult” (in effect) around what you do in your market, maybe Seth will help you get there.
Clap in unison, in rhythm. With those who would be crazy about what you do for them.
But first, give them something to clap about.
Do you have relationships with your clientele like the ones Seth is talking about? How do your products and services create raging fans?
I’m speaking of the marketing value of keeping track of your customers’ birthdays.Â
I know, I know. People won’t give them to you. If so, it’s because you aren’t asking the right way – or you aren’t making the sale.
This is a sale as well. If you told them they were getting something of value as a gift in exchange for telling you what month they were born, most people will sign up. You don’t need the day or the year in order to give them something special for their birthday.Â
Don’t waste energy worrying about the ones who don’t join your birthday program – spend your energy on making sure your offer is doing a good job of illustrating the value of the birthday program.Â
In the past, we talked about the restaurants (for example) that use this to fill their reservation calendar. Even if you don’t take reservations, you can use this strategy.Â
These days, even Disney is doing it
Recently, Disney started offering a free day pass to their parks on their guest’s birthday. If you’ve been to Disney or looked at their pricing, you know that this is not a cheap gift. A one day pass to Disney World is $75.
So why would they do this?
The same reason you should be offering a free dessert or entree or buy-one-get-one (or half or whatever) to your customers on their birthday – because almost no one eats alone on their birthday.
If your family of 4 goes out to Uncle Ralphie’s Gourmet Pizza for dinner tonight for dad’s birthday because dad gets to eat free – you’re still going to buy a meal for everyone else at the table.
Obviously you have to know your numbers to make the right kind of offer, and you might have to tweak it over time, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a profitable event on average.
As for Disney’s reasoning – it’s no different.
Who goes to Disney World by themselves? Sure, there are exceptions. Do you make decisions based on the actions of the 1% or 99%?
Speaking of… happy birthday, Russ. (See, that wasn’t so hard)