We all know that the cornerstone of growing a business has to deal with customers. We also want to increase sales. There are only really three ways to increase sales. Number one, get your current customers to repeat buy. Buy more of the same or other products. The second way is to raise prices. If you raise prices, you increase income. That may not go over well with some customers. You have to decide if that makes sense for your business. And then thirdly, you just have to get more customers. Easy, right? Not so much all the time.

Today I want to talk about how to talk with your customers, not at them. I’ve got five principles that I want to cover.

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1) Get To Know Them

The first principle is that you really have to get to know them. You have to understand your customers’ perspectives, especially what their main problem is that you solve. In the case of what I do, I help people increase their visibility, get more traffic and talk to their customers in a way that’s going to help them relate exactly what they can do for them.

2) Ask Questions

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The second piece of the puzzle is you may think you know what the solution is, but what do your customers think a perfect solution is? What do they consider the right solution to their problem? And that’s what you have to understand.

How do we get there? Well, the first way to do this is to ask questions. It could be as simple as picking up the phone or emailing them before, during, and after the sales process. It’s usually a great idea to do it afterward, just to find out if they’re happy and satisfied, what they liked, what they didn’t like. They’ll generally take a couple of minutes to talk to you.

Another way to do this is poll them. Put together a poll or a questionnaire afterward. What did they find successful, what didn’t they? Now, polls tend to be a little bit impersonal and a lot of people generally don’t have time for them. But it can’t hurt to try. Think of that as another tool in your arsenal or another arrow in your quiver to getting to know exactly what your customers want and how to talk to them.

3) Reviews & Testimonials

The next thing I suggest that you do is to consider getting reviews and testimonials. This can tell you a lot about how your customers feel, but they’re also great for your website. They’re great for your marketing and so on. One way to do this, if you have a Google account and you’re set up in Google Business, is to create a Pretty Link to Google Reviews and then send that to your clients. Say, “Would you please do me a favor and give us a quick review on Google?” If they fill that out, then you’ve got added punch inside of the Google nanosphere, the Google environment, whatever you want to call it.

Another thing that you can do is go to LinkedIn and get a recommendation. That’s a testimonial. Now the best way to get a recommendation inside of LinkedIn is to give a recommendation first. You recommend them after you’ve worked with them, and chances are they’ll come back and give you an even more glowing recommendation than if you simply ask them.

The other thing that you can do is either meet with them in person or over the phone and ask them to give you a testimonial. Either way, use a tool to record it. You can use a phone call recorder or you can use just a recorder on your cell phone and ask them to give you a testimonial. Then go back to your office and get it transcribed. I use Rev.com. For a dollar a minute, you can get it transcribed. So if you only have a minute testimonial, it’s going to cost you a buck, two minutes, three minutes, whatever. It’s relatively cheap.

Now you can go in and massage it a little bit, just to make sure that it sounds legit and proper, and then send it to the client and get their approval to make sure that it sounds like they actually said it. That’s the best way to get recommendations and reviews.

4) Build Your Perfect Avatar

The next piece that you want to concentrate on is building your perfect avatar. Now, we all think we know who our perfect customer is. When I first started this business, I used to think anybody who was breathing and had a heartbeat and a wallet was a good customer. I’ve since learned that that’s not the right answer. One of the things you might want to do is go back and read What Is The Power Of A “little c” and “Big C” And A “little b” and “Big B” For Your Business? Take a few minutes to learn about the power of the little C and the big C (which stands for cash and credit, or small transactions and large transactions), as well as the little B and big B (smaller businesses and larger businesses). You have to understand who your customer is and what their needs are and where they fit into the ecosystem of business.

First off, how big is their business? What’s the income? How much money is their business bringing in and what is their expendable income for what it is that you offer? The second thing you want to look at is, what’s your customer position? Are they in sales? Are they in marketing? Are they an owner? What is it and what is it about them that makes them special? How much power do they have? What are their needs? What are they trying to solve? What’s the problem that really is keeping them up at night?

And then next, you want to look at the demographics. What’s their age? What are their interests? What are their goals? And what kind of content are they consuming? You really want to get to create this avatar, this perfect person. And maybe, more often than not, you have multiple avatars because you have different products.

I’ve got three different levels of things that I sell as far as training. I’ve got an entry-level program that works for the majority of clients. I’ve got a mid-level thing that works for customers that are within a certain price range that manage their own websites and have control of their analytics. Not everybody in the entry-level area has that. The mid-level customers do. And then finally, I have my high end coaching, and these are people that are just making money and killing it, but they want to take it up a notch to increase the number of customers that they have. Each one of those groups has different needs, and they are different avatars.

5) Customer Focused Content

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The final thing that you need to do is create customer-focused content. That means blogs, podcasts, articles, Facebook posts, Twitter, LinkedIn, whatever it is. You want to create great content that focuses on those customers. What you have to do is make sure that when you’re creating this content, you’re talking with them, not at them. Meaning that you’re asking them questions. You’re using words like you and your versus we and me. You want to make sure that you’re having a conversation with them, not telling them what to do.

Then you want to teach them something. You want to give them some information where they feel like, hey, you know what? I get this. This makes sense and this can really help me get to the next level or maybe ask the right questions so that I can maybe find the answers to the problems that I’m having.

Then the final thing you want to do with this, is after you’ve posted it, you want to make sure that you ask for comments. You ask for feedback. You ask for shares. You ask for engagements. One of the things that I’ve learned is, if you tell people what to do, generally they will do it. If you don’t ask, generally they won’t. If you ask customers for feedback and say please leave your comments and suggestions or anything that like this has happened to you and how you worked through it, then you start to build a sense of community. That community can then bleed over into something like a Facebook or LinkedIn group where you get a bunch of these people together so that you can create conversations.

Final Thoughts

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The key thing that you want to think about is how to create conversations with your customers, and how to talk with them, not at them. By doing that, you’re going to be able to grow your customer base and grow your business in ways that will help you succeed better than ever.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Comment below and share your thoughts and ideas on how you use currently use customer communications to grow your business! Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?