Step 7: Let Customers Be Customers

(If recruiting isn’t going as fast as you’d hoped, consider, instead of quitting, building a steady customer base. Step ONE here. Step TWO here. Step THREE here. Step FOUR here. Step FIVE here. Step SIX here)

Have you ever tried telling a customer about the business when they’re ready to buy the product or service? What happened?

“She rolled her eyes and said she’d get back to me. Then she didn’t take my calls anymore.”

Step 7: Let Customers Be Customers

You may not realize it, but asking a prospective customer to sell the thing she is just deciding to buy is a telltale sign to her that something is not normal. It sets off an alarm in her head that this must be “one of those things.” That’s not a good thing. (See Chapter 10 in Orange book.)

Cable TV Man Story (from the Orange book, p 163-4)

Picture this: The cable TV guy has just finished installing your cable TV (and Internet) hookup. You’ve just signed the order and are making your payment. Before he goes, he says:

“You know, Mrs. Jones, we make good money doing this. And we’re looking for people to help us sell cable TV. It’s really easy. Anyone can do it.

All you have to to is share it with your friends and family. You know, like recommending a movie. And we’re the best cable company in the country. How about it? You want to make some extra money with us?”

What’s your gut reaction? Here’s what my students have said:

“I’d laugh.”

“I wonder if I overpaid.”

“I’d be surprised. Why ask me? I don’t know anything about that.”

“I’d wonder if they’re financially in some kind of trouble”

“What kind of cable-TV company is this?

The next week, the phone rings, and it’s the cable-TV man. He says:

“Hi Mrs. Jones…this is Joe, the cable-TV man. Say we’re still looking for people…

You know, it could be your ticket to financial freedom. Do you want to talk to my supervisor who has made a lot of money doing this? He just bought a vacation home in Hawaii. How about it? You want to make some money with us? It’s really easy. Everyone wants cable…”

The next week, he calls again. Same pitch. And the following week again.

How are you feeling right now about your cable-TV service? (By now the entire class says they’d ditch the service and find another cable TV company.)

But, says the die-hard recruiter, doesn’t everyone want financial freedom? Or at least get their products or services at a discount for referring others to them?

NO. Everyone does NOT. Not if the price of either of those things is doing things they do not want to do. Like sell to their friends. Most people prefer to do other things to make money – things that have nothing do do with contacting and selling friends.

Referring products for discounts or in exchange free products seems simple to us, the seller, but it is also tricky. Many customers tell us that they will refer a product they love, but only if they are NOT paid for it. They feel being paid taints their recommendation to a friend. Others say they will but never do.

Warning. This is NOT like recommending a movie or a restaurant. You have no financial stake in either of those. The recommendations are clean and agenda-free. But when you’re paid for your recommendation, the motivation is no longer clear. And that is why friends do not like selling to friends. And the FTC is now promising to levy up to $11,000 in fines to people who recommend stuff online without telling up front that they are being paid for it. So you lose all around.

Wait for your customers to come to you. Some invariably will ask you – “Hey, I’d maybe like to sell this – how do I do that?” Tell them then. Meanwhile:

Step 7: Let Customers Be Customers

This is the end of the series: How To Build a Customer Base in 7 Steps. I might put all the steps into a little Manifesto -a PDF. Would you like that?

Excerpts from the Orange Book here.

Audio classes of the teachings on how to build a customer base here. Enchilada=12 CDs. 3 Scripts=5 CDs.

P.S. I might do a bonus Step 8.

About the author

Kim Klaver

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