Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
How Well Do Your Customers Know You? > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

How Well Do Your Customers Know You?

Know your customer, know your customer, know your customer. Three very important rules of business. But let me ask you this: How well do your customers know YOU?

Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, asked himself this important question several decades ago. His answer: employee nametags. So, he rolled out an initiative that required all of his employees to wear badges, the purpose of which was to "help the customers get to know the people they bought from."

But helping customers "get to know you" isn't just about names, it's about information. In other words, it's about self-disclosure, which is the process of revealing your personal information to another.

This process starts with a small piece of information, i.e., your name. Then, as the relationship develops, it progresses into more intimate territory with the sharing of opinions, preferences and experiences. What's more, because of its reciprocal nature, self-disclosure has incredible power. It creates comfort, establishes rapport, helps discover the CPI (Common Point of Interest) and builds trust between you and your customers.

I once worked at a mom-and-pop furniture store in Portland, Oregon. More so than any business I've ever walked into, the owners of City Liquidators leveraged self-disclosure to its fullest extent. You couldn't step five feet into their store without seeing pictures of their family. The walls donned clippings from nostalgic newspaper articles and various personal memorabilia that brought the store to life!

As a result, shoppers who walked in the door felt like they personally knew the owners. Engaging conversations about children, families and growing up in Portland were frequent among the customers. And, the emotional connection sparked by these interactions helped the customers feel more comfortable while shopping ? which ultimately secured their loyalty.

Not to mention, self-disclosure actually helps YOU get to know your customers better as well! Here's another example. My friend Dennis is a doorman at the Ritz Carlton. He is a master of using self-disclosure to establish relationships with guests.

If a family with young children pulls into the front drive, Dennis always gets excited. (He has a young daughter himself.) And as soon as he extends his warm welcome to the arriving guests, he doesn't hesitate to share information about his own family. Sometimes he'll even show guests a picture! But Dennis knows that an effective way to learn about his customers is to educate them about himself first.

How well do your customers know you? Here are some ways you can use self-disclosure to create comfort and build rapport with buyers:

What's Your Story?
How did you get your start in business? Did you "fall" into your line of work? Perhaps there's an interesting anecdote or event that caused the birth of your business. If so, this is called "Your Story," and it's a fundamental tool for helping your customers get to know you.

Write it out. Practice saying it aloud. Make it funny. And tell it to everybody. Publish it on your marketing materials, and especially your website. Create a special page on your website called "Our Story," or "My Philosophy" that shares this personal anecdote.

Start Blogging
A popular new medium through which to share your feelings, experiences and emotions is with a blog. I recently started a Blog for my business, and it's become a valuable tool to stimulate personal dialogue with potential customers. A blog is an online journal on which you can post comments, links, stories and articles. A blog is free and easy, and also a great way to let your customers know what's going on in your life. And the best part about it is: they can post their comments too! Talk about self-disclosure!

Recommend Resources
In your newsletter, on the phone or in person, recommend books, CD's and other resources. Tell your customers how much these things have changed your life, your business and your relationships. If they take your advice, they'll be more inclined to share their own experiences with you, not to mention you'll soon have more things in common!

My friend Ed who works for Cornerstone Financial does this all the time. He spends a few hundred dollars a year buying copies of his favorite books for his customers. He tells them how the books improved his life in the hopes that his customers will reciprocate their similar experiences ? which they do.

Your ability to educate your customers not only about your products and services, but about yourself, is critical to your success. If you follow these principles of self-disclosure and reciprocation, your customers will get to know you better than ever before! So, remember what my friend Jeffrey Gitomer says: it's not what you know; it's not WHO you know ? it's who knows YOU.

© 2005 All Rights Reserved.

Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

The Register

The Social Network™ releases its data networking code
The Register
Facebook has sent another shiver running up Cisco's spine, by releasing the code it uses for packet routing. Open/R, its now-open source routing platform, runs Facebook's backbone and data centre networks. The Social Network™ first promised to release ...


Forbes

Your Survival Guide To Holiday Networking: How To Handle Seven Common Problem Situations
Forbes
Even if you avoid networking all year, it's inevitable during the holiday season that you will find yourself at a networking event – your company party, your kids' school events, the year-end celebration for a professional group you're involved with ...


Forbes

Could Quantum Networking Be The Next Big (IT) Thing?
Forbes
Foundry innovation lab located in the heart of Silicon Valley to learn more about quantum networking, which promises similar results. The team in Palo Alto has incubated nearly 150 projects since its inception, and in May of this year announced a ...


TechCrunch

Facebook open sources Open/R distributed networking software ...
TechCrunch
Facebook is no stranger when it comes to open sourcing its computing knowledge. Over the years, it has consistently created software and hardware internally,..

and more »

Crain's Cleveland Business (blog)

Networking is dating for professionals
Crain's Cleveland Business (blog)
It seems like everyone is doing it. It's business-savvy peer pressure – guidance counselor nostalgia. It can be awkward and costly. Even if you had to pay for a networking event ticket, you might decide not to show up. Sometimes you wish you hadn't gone.


What to expect when you're Connecting: Networking
Inman.com
There's a wealth of networking opportunities already baked into the program, from the ever-popular Cocktails at Connect to our Influencer Bash, right through to our new Hot Seat Coaching sessions, the numerous vendor evening parties, and even just ...

and more »

Getting Started With Mesh Networking
Lifehacker Australia
I first became interested in mesh networks back when Nicholas Negroponte championed his $100 laptop, the OLPC XO. His dream was to build a networked computer that could be used in remote environments and deliver connectivity to students in places ...


Software-Defined & Cloud-Enabled: The Future of Networking for the Public Sector
CIO
Forward-thinking public sector IT teams are seeking ways to upgrade their networks to reach this level of elasticity. With an always-on network complete with software-defined and cloud-enabled solutions, public safety can provide more services to the ...


The unsocial networking
The Nation
Man/woman is a social animal, or, more apt for today's world, a social networking animal. Sometimes, it seems, literally. Like most new inventions, social media is also trying to find its balance overwhelmed by its own bullet speed growth. It has ...

and more »

MIT Technology Review

Networking on a New Level
MIT Technology Review
“Networking missed out on the evolution to high-level programming,” says David Cheriton, founder of and chief scientist for Apstra. “We're still programming networks like we did in the '60s.” Because the tools haven't kept pace, network managers, in ...

Google News

Why Cant I Remember Your Name?

You're terrible with names. You forget someone's name within ten... Read More

Build Your Business through Strategic Networking

Networking ? it's the latest business trend. Or is it?Actually,... Read More

Youve Got Personality, Use It!

For the self employed professional, nothing is more important than... Read More

Politics, Religion, Race; Conversational No-No?s in Business

Do not destroy all your positive displacement and high energy... Read More

Time to Hire a Professional Networker?

It used to be that people said that there was... Read More

How Well Do Your Customers Know You?

Know your customer, know your customer, know your customer. Three... Read More

Unforgettable First Impressions Part 2: Its All About Them!

Jean de la Bruyere said, "The great gift of conversation... Read More

The Quest for Passive Income

Passive Income, residuals, royalties three ways to get paid multiple... Read More

How NOT to Waste Your Time Networking

Ever wonder if networking, referral groups, and conferences are a... Read More

Networking to a New Life

Research shows that talking to strangers -- not people in... Read More

Networking Know How

Networking, even to a seasoned professional, can seem intimidating or... Read More

The Power of Word of Mouth

Most of us remember the commercial that said, "I told... Read More

Networking Skills: Arguing in Context

If you're fond of a good debate, you know how... Read More

Communication Is A 2-Way Street (The Networking Factor)

The Personal Touch 1There is a simple art to networking... Read More

Networking: Is Your Approach Too Self-Centered?

It's a classic mistake by networkers: their approach is focused... Read More

8 Ways To Develop Confidence In New Situations

Do you enjoy one-on-one networking, however, the thought of walking... Read More

How to Find Participants for a Trial Run

Why is a network meeting the best place to get... Read More

Are You Sitting With The Right Company?

When I walked into Dallas's famous Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse, all... Read More

Network Marketing Secret: On Becoming the ?GoTo? Guy

For years we've been taught to identify ourselves as reps... Read More

Follow-Up with Your Contacts

What happens when you meet a potential client at an... Read More

10 Top Tips for Successful Networking

1. Recognise the importance of networkingAsk any successful business person... Read More

Giving the Gift of Your Name (The Networking Factor)

Although, this is about giving the gift of your name... Read More

Network Your Way to Success, and Remember: Its Not About You!

Quote of the week"The answer is always no...unless you ask."... Read More

Talk Isnt Cheap

The most successful organizations have good communication skills. Survey after... Read More

Marketing Essentials: The 15 Second Elevator Speech

You're at a conference. Someone steps in the elevator, notices... Read More