If you want your customers to love you (and you should, because if they’re just “satisfied” you’ve lost the game), then take a lesson from your own romantic adventures.
For example, think back to the first date or two with that person you were really crazy about.
If you’re a guy, it went something like this:
You really paid attention, didn’t you? You listened intently to her every word; you noticed every detail: what she was wearing, what she ordered for dinner, and what songs she said she liked. And you took volumes of mental notes. You gathered data, and you responded; you acted. You delivered on her expressed desires and guessed at her unarticulated needs and responded to those, too.
So, on the next date, you picked her up in your freshly-washed convertible, but you left the top up, because–even though you loved the feel of the wind whipping through the car–you remembered she told you how long it took her to get her hair just the way she liked it.
At her door, you handed her one red rose–which you’d learned was her favorite flower–and you escorted her on your arm to your waiting chariot.
With me so far?
Then you headed for the opera house, because you knew she loved La Traviata and it happened to be in town–even though last week you thought La Traviata was an Italian restaurant and, frankly, still wished it were. Even though you’d rather see the Rolling Stones for the 20th time, or get your teeth drilled by a very nervous dental student.
But when you saw those tears of operatic exhilaration roll down her cheeks, your joy ultimately came from the knowledge that you had done a very good thing, and from the realization that you had won her heart.
Here’s the punchline:
Relationships in business are won in analogous ways: by paying nearly obsessive attention to the needs, desires, hopes, and aspirations of everyone who touches your business and acting on what you’ve learned before they ask. By knowing not only when to say no and stand firm on principle–there is such a thing as tough love–but also when to sacrifice some of your own short-term needs in order for your clients to be successful in the long run.
And they will love you for it.
Think of a current client, partner, or prospect in light of the Early Romantic Encounter. How are you stacking up?