Marketing tip #56: Walk a mile in their moccasins


I believe this is one of those marketing tips that we all nod our heads at and think, “gosh, I should do that one of these days” but really rarely get around to doing.

We get so caught up in our processes and getting the job done that we forget that we’re doing it “to” and “with” a human being.  And those pesky human beings sometimes need a little hand holding or explanation — especially if they’re new to the task.

It’s so easy to get frustrated with yet another question or request that takes you off “the path of the plan.”  But honestly — if you find yourself reacting that way — then shame on you.  Yes…shame on you.

If a customer is pushing back, or asking more questions or seems unable to pull the trigger it’s because you left something unexplained.  The more firmly you dig in your heels and hold them to the process, the more unsure they feel.  Which just leads to…yup, more questions and concern.  It’s an ugly cycle.

I’m reminded of this truth as we work with a new vendor to McLellan Marketing Group.  While they’re quite good at what they do, they have the customer service skills of a grumpy drunk.  I have often found myself wondering if they have any concept of what it’s like to work with them.  My guess is… no.

Our experience with them has me very mindful of how we’re treating our own clients.  Are we taking the time to really walk out the next steps with them?  Are we in tune with their hesitations or worries?  Do we dismiss their concerns or ideas because “we know” what’s right?  And do we even bother to explain the why?

I find myself wanting to be able to experience us… as a new client.  What do they see and hear?  Do they feel welcome and important?  Or do they feel rushed and confused?  Are our procedures confusing?  Our bills clear?  Our gratitude evident?

We can’t step into their shoes, but we can ask for their feedback.  We can be more mindful of how it must feel from their position.  In our quest to create love affairs with our customers — this would seem to me to be pivotal.

How about you?  How do you balance conducting business in a way that is efficient and effective with customer care?  How do you stay in touch with what it’s like to do business with you?

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4 comments on “Marketing tip #56: Walk a mile in their moccasins

  1. Bridget Sexton says:

    We outsource a lot of the work we do and I find that it’s easy to get frustrated with those individuals who sometimes drag their feet. It’s easy to fall into a mindset of “well, they should be getting this done because they work for us, gosh darnit!”.

    I remind myself of these points:
    -Overcommunication is better than no communication, no matter how many (sometimes silly) questions I receive.

    -No matter who you come in contact with, they can always spread words about you. I always try to maintain a positive attitude with anyone I am working with. You never know where new business will come from – current clients, business partner, etc.

    -Always say thank you: Thank customers for the business they give us, thank vendors for the work they do for us, etc.

    -Just be nice! We all have a job to do and everyone should be held accountable, but why not be nice about it??

    1. Bridget –

      Amen on the over communication! I think that’s where most of us falter. We forget how much we know and how scary it is for our clients who don’t.

      When in doubt — tell them and tell them again!!

      Why not be nice indeed! Thanks so much for jumping into the conversation.


  2. Bridget Sexton says:

    And whadya know, I got a thank you for posting that comment! Nice, Drew!

    1. Bridget —

      I just like to let new commenters know that I’m glad they’ve joined in the conversation!

      Hope you come back soon!


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