Yesterday I receive a call from a floor covering retailer about technology.
“I just can’t keep up with it, he said, I don’t know what to do first!”
This is a common cry from business owners who believe that technology is the key to their existence. They think if they don’t learn everything about it, their business will fail.
Yes technology is changing every day, but that’s not the problem. The problem is finding your consumer. The consumer has found new friends in cyberspace. Instead of starting their product search in your retail store; they are starting their search online. To keep your business alive; you must know the following two things:
- Who is your primary customer? No, not everyone is a customer. Your customer should be profitable and should want to sing your praises. (This customer is probably a referral.)
- Where online does your customer hang out? (Everyone has their favorite places to connect.)
Your customer may still be at the Chamber of Commerce or at the Networking Group, but they are also online. To keep up with your customers, you will need to know their favorite haunts. Why spend all of your days on Facebook chasing down a customer and then realize they’re on LinkedIn?
Google has been writing about the Customer’s Zero Moments of Truth, ZMOT to give us an idea of what’s fueling the customer. Instead of telling us “what technology to use” they are telling us to find our customer. I have linked you to an article I wrote for the Albany Times Union on the ZMOT.
Three ideas from Google are worth significant attention. When it comes to the customer, Google suggests the following: Here is a video link to ZMOThttp://v1.zeromomentoftruth.com/google-zmot-es.pdf.
- Know where your customer hangs out and show up to engage.
- Show up often. (Don’t be a stranger or ‘one-hit wonder.’ hit wonder.’
- Know what to say when you show up.
If your primary business is B-to-B, then LinkedIn might be the place to show up. What will you show up for? Note the above. Either join a group connected with your industry and the people you want to know. If there isn’t a group, start your own.
If your primary business is retail, check out Facebook, Pinterest and Houzz. If you’re not sure which ones apply to your customers, ask them.
Let’s stop kidding ourselves. Most searches start on-line. Our job is to decide where our customers are on-line and meet them there. This is where the dance begins. The idea is to get the customer to engage with you so get to know and trust you. Once this happens they will consider going to your retail store.
Today engagement is all about listening to, and talking with the customer. The days of “telling the customer anything” are over.
Lisbeth has been coaching businesses for over 25 years. Her focus is helping businesses use customer service to impact the bottom line. Not sure where to begin? Give Lisbeth a call and share your thoughts. Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com or 518-495-5380.