Monday, January 14, 2008

Compelling Reason #2: Your First Customer

Because I lack the ability to see into the future, I can tell you little about your first customer, except this: She is no dummy. Let’s say you are introducing the shiny new ultra-sleek TrashSmasher 3000, which competes directly with the well-known but less-sophisticated TrashCrumpler made by Humongous Conglomerate, Incorporated (popularly known as Humco, Inc.). Your first customer knows you will treat her as though she is the only customer in the world, because that's what she'll be for a while. If she has a problem, you will address it before her phone hits the receiver. Conversely, she knows that the highfalutin powers-that-be at Humco, Inc. will respond to her requests at a glacial pace. That gives you an advantage. And she knows your advantage is to her advantage.

Your soon-to-be first customer wants you to succeed, partly for business reasons, because you can make her look good to her boss or customers. But she also wants to see you succeed for emotional reasons. Everybody wants the chance to say, “I gave that successful guy his first break.” Everybody likes to pull for the little guy. Right now, there is nobody smaller than you. If you establish a good relationship with a prospect-cum-customer, she will root for you to become the best in your industry. She will say that she knew you back when, and that she was prescient enough to take a chance on you.

The day your first customer chooses to do business with you will be the luckiest day of her life, because you will treat her like the center of the universe. You will name your first child after her, even if your child is already in college. You will speak dreamingly of her to your spouse or to your pet. You will love your first customer as you have loved no near stranger before. She knows it.

Realize your advantages
To say you can use your size and newness to your advantage is not just a bunch of hooey. You really do have advantages. Let’s say your first customer calls you with a problem. How long would it take for you to respond? A split second? Less? Think how many times you’ve called someone, as a customer, and waited for what seemed like an eternity for someone to get back to you. You are resolved not to let that happen to your prospects and customers. You are going to do things the right way. Express that resolve to your soon-to-be first customer at every opportunity.

No comments: