It’s Not All About Me, But It All Depends On Me

One of the best things I have learned over the past year about how to grow my business is that it’s not all about ME, but it all depends on ME.

Kenneth H. Blanchard who wrote the famous book The One Minute Manager also wrote Raving Fans. I rediscovered him through my client Chick-fil-A. They embrace his concepts and work hard at creating Raving Fans.

Definition of a Raving Fan: One who uses your services more often; pays full price; and tell others about you.
All businesses want and need Raving Fans. So, how do you get them?

First: Your product or service must be superior. Doing business “Good Enough” will make some clients rave about you, but they will not be FANS. Striving for nothing but the best will create genuine fans.

As a photographer I look for a unique angles; something they are not likely to see themselves. “Good Enough” is giving my client a professional version of something they could have seen and done without my help. My photos must WOW them. That’s my obligation to them as a professional.

Creative use of lighting can move my photography from just “Good Enough” to excellent. I need to explore the subject and find the point of view with the most effective use of light. For example, moving a person so that the light from a window creates the main light on their face rather than fighting the glare of the same window behind the subject. I may need to set-up strobes (flashes) to create my own “window light.”

“Good Enough” is scouting a location after joining my client at the shoot. Much better to shout in advance of the shoot and be able to suggest locations for the best light, composition or unique perspective to make photos that standout from the expected.

Second: To win Raving Fans – go the Second Mile in service. In my business I looked for things to do that were not required, but would be valued by my client.

Something I did from the beginning was to deliver my work to my clients on a professional-looking CD or DVD. I printed my logo and sometimes their logo on the disc as well as the date of the photo shoot and other useful information. “Good Enough” is writing the information on the disk with a Sharpie.

Another unexpected and appreciated extra is a quick turn-around delivering the images. When possible I give the client the disc before I leave the shoot.

By watching other businesses it is possible to discover some of the ways they attract fans. Chick-fil-A, for example, works at making a customer feel like a guest in someone’s home. Little things make this happen. They’ll hold the door for folks, carry the trays to the table, refresh their drinks and even give them food occasionally. 

Seeing what other businesses do and finding ways to apply the concept to my business isn’t always apparent. It is a constant struggle to find ways to be more service oriented. We call those who “do it naturally” Ladies and Gentlemen. (The rest of us gotta work at it.)

I believe the whole key to attracting and keeping Raving Fans is to first be sure to deliver a quality product and do so in a professional way. Only if we are doing this will the Second Mile Service have any real impact. No matter how many nice-little-things we do for a client if they are not happy with our product… The point: You Can’t Go The Second Mile If You Didn’t Go The First Mile FIRST.

I’ve found a great second mile touch is a hand written thank you card. Anything hand written is so rare these days that it has an almost unimaginable positive impact.

Third: Another component of creating Raving Fans is establishing an emotional connection with the client. It’s called Friendship.

When my customer becomes more than a paycheck, when I see them as a valuable person, when I come to care about how they’re doing and I’m concerned about their happiness that’s when I discover the true joy of “doing business.”

When business reaches this level going the second mile only seems natural.

This relationship is not going to form with all our clients, but when it does it was worth the trouble and we’ve made a Raving Fan.

A few months ago I ran into a man I knew when he was a teenager. We were talking when he stopped and said, “Last Sunday my pastor said in his sermon that we should tell people what they have meant to us over the years. Well, I want to tell you that you were a major influence on me when I was a kid and I want to thank you for that.”

I want forget that for a long time. Made me feel great and humble at the same time.

We probably didn’t know our clients when they were kids, but there are things we like and appreciate about them that, given the opportunity, perhaps we should tell them.

An easy way to make a fan and a friend is just to listen to them. Maybe over coffee or a meal, just give them the time of day. A friend, after all, is someone who will listen.

I believe this can all be boiled down to this statement: If you want to grow a business, look for ways to serve your customers.