Customer conversation and generating sales go hand in hand, but their relationship isn’t as simple as you might think. Talking with prospects and current customers is as much about you providing them value as it is encouraging them to buy. If you only reach out to your customers when you want them to spend money, you’re going about it the wrong way. I have a term for this kind of communication — one that might make you blush. I’ve named it a “business booty call.”
Booty Call Customer Communication
Do you want to know the dark truth? 99 percent of businesses in the U.S. are in the business of booty calls. To be clear, a booty call, as defined by the Urban Dictionary (and this definition has been highly sanitized) is as follows:
Booty call (noun): a phone call, text, or conversation aimed at getting into your pants. Not an invite to a movie or dinner, not coffee, and not a casual or formal get-together — just a plain, old-fashioned “Let’s have sex” communication.
Now, I don’t think you’re in the business of asking people for sex, but most businesses treat their customers with nearly the same regard.
Here is what I mean:
When do you communicate? Stop reading for a moment; take 30 seconds and think about all your customer or prospect communication.
If the answer to the question above is “When I want money or some other benefit for myself or my company,” you are in the business version of a booty call relationship. And like real-life booty calls, the business versions rarely lead to long-term relationships.
I know I’m using an extreme example here, but it is because of how egregious this practice is in the business world. We communicate when we want money … am I wrong?
Are You Making Booty Calls?
How many companies, including yours, only call, email, or write when they want something? We all communicate a ton when we want or need cash. We all have time to craft an email or write an ad when we need someone to make a purchase. There is always time to put together a proposal if we have the opportunity to get a sale. We seem to magically run out of time when it’s time to add value and go above and beyond.
The booty call sales strategy is a horrible strategy. It’s not the only stupid strategy, but it’s one of the most prominent.
The funny thing is, every once in a while, people will challenge me and show me some other communication that was not about selling the prospect or customer, but the number of non-sales communications is usually very minimal — 10 to 1 at best. I’ll sometimes also have someone show me their blog to prove that isn’t how they operate, but when we look at how many customers see their blog posts, those posts don’t count.
How to Communicate Effectively
Like it or not, you are in the content creation and relationship business. That doesn’t mean you have to create the content yourself, but you or your team will have to supervise it. You have to create content that adds value to the lives of your prospects and customers. You must educate and entertain — not just pitch your product or service. Could you imagine reading this blog if every post was about blogs and how to use them or how to market with them? This would be the world’s most boring blog, and I’d have no readership. The same goes for my newsletters and my emails.
Everyone talks about the secret to being successful in business and can give you their take on it. Everyone takes topics and overcomplicates them, but if you want to know the truth about being successful in business, regardless of your niche or industry, regardless of selling in the business-to-consumer space or business-to-business space, it’s a simple answer. So don’t let that hold you back from taking it in.
Treat people like people and add value to their lives above and beyond whatever product or service you provide. In other words, focus on customer experience. Starting there is the foundation you need to build a super successful and profitable business that lasts.
It seems like advice your grandma would give you, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Add immense value and help others achieve their goals, and you will achieve yours as well.
Of course, you can continue to operate and treat customers as booty calls, but as the economy continues to shift and your competition shifts away from these negative business practices, don’t be surprised if you lose market share and struggle to grow.
Or you could do the right thing and start making the change now so you are in front of your competitors and positioned to grow and win.