Monday, July 27, 2009

The Authentic Dialogue

It's tough. Being a marketer and coming across as real to the customer. It is tougher yet, to have a real conversation with a customer. They, more than likely, think that you have an ulterior motive in mind. They think, and rightfully so, that you want their money. But, you, as a marketer, can be better than that. You can do better than that. You can carry on the Authentic Dialogue. It is difficult and takes time to cultivate the kind of relationship that results in a chat, a debate, or even a civilized argument.

But give it time. Show the true desire to understand, to listen, to want to know...that which is buried in the psyche of your customer. They are after all human beings. Let's start with that. Your product or service can serve a role in their lives. But that really can and must be secondary to a long term relationship. Dare we say friendship? Probably not. But relationship, we can all shoot for that. Because that is, ultimately, where the lasting conversation materializes. That is where the Authentic Dialogue resides.

So how to get there, how to get there? Listen don't force. Talk, don't push. Relate don't brag. Try to understand where they are coming from...where they want to go. Then offer some advice to help get them there. Maybe your product goes along for the ride. Maybe not (or maybe not on this trip). But you have established something special. A real moment in time with your potential customer. Do they trust you yet? Not the point. Do they need something from you or will they buy something from you? Who cares at this juncture. If you have truly done something to become part of their universe (even in a very limited way), you have made great strides.

Let's talk specifics. Try giving something away. Advice or expertise – that nudge that makes them that much better at something they love to do. A connection. A forum to gripe. A free pass. A chance to try your product and to give back an honest opinion. Or something completely unrelated to your product. Something that makes them laugh. Something that they will pass on to their friends. Something that is a conversation starter. Become part of their universe. Do not interrupt it – but rather enhance it. Offer your product later. If it doesn't fit in their life right now, maybe it is something they'd recommend to their network (never underestimate the power of a network).

Show them that you are there for them...then back away. You'll be surprised.

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The Authentic Dialogue

The Authentic Dialogue
Striking up a real conversation with your customer can be tough.