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Tips on getting engaged customers

Ever since I started my publishing business have I told myself to be ”¤#£&!”sure that I always level with my customers and that I'll be more of a friend to them than a seller.

Every day when I go to work I aim to make my customers satisfied. I want them to break down with happiness when they do business with my company. I see myself as an employee of my customers and even if business is good, my job is still to make them even happier.

I don't always make everyone happy, but most often I think I do, and it's easy to understand why I try so hard all the time.
My customers don't just allow me to keep doing the world's best job every day – they also have the courtesy to pay my rent, my food, my summer house and my holiday trips with my family.

Can you do anything, but work really hard for such people and love them for putting their trust in you? Of course not. It's an easy job to have. It's a fun job to have. Every time a customer orders a book, Tarzan yells from my cell phone and I say “thank you” out loud wherever I am. Every time a customer orders a book, it's like a vote that my company should be allowed to remain in business for yet a little while. How can you not like such customers? A few times each year I ask customers what they want from me as a publisher. What can we do better? What books do they want to read? What problems do they require a solution for? Their answer is my guide for what to do next semester.

Yes, you're right, I don't have too many hobbies besides my company, but who needs it? The business is all that is exciting. There is playfulness and creativity - and there are problems to solve every day in your own business. Sometimes everything goes on rails and sometimes fate turns my day into a scary roller coaster. The best thing you can do is to start thinking about your customers as business partners to your company. Instead of creating a feeling that it's “you against them”- imagine that you are working together.

Here are some tips on how to turn your customers into business partners:
1. Try to solve the problem for your customers. Today, we are drowning in options and to find a partner who can do something we can't and only have one supplier for everything is good.

2. Make sure your customers know your business. Tell them about the background to your company and your staff (it's not dangerous) instead of “playing office”. Since we are more loyal to those we know than to strangers, it's important that you prove yourself and what you stand for.

3. Share your knowledge in different ways. Publish articles on your website. Launch a newsletter which gives your customers valuable tips. You can't force someone to enthusiasm, but if you can muster a genuine enthusiasm and convey an honest sense to your customers that you wish them well - then you will get lots of good things back.

4. Find out how you can offer more value to your customers. Maybe your skills will be posted on their own website where only customers have access.

5. Surprise your customers sometimes. Show that you understand their problems. If you have a client who is going through a tough time with something - send flowers, a pizza or anything that will cheer him/her up and do it without expecting something in return.

And finally - whatever you do, the best way to get customers aboard, is to show them that you understand that you know that they are the key to your business.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

230 000 prescribes to his free newsletter "The 5 minute marketer"
Every week some 230,000 prescribers gets his free newsletter about 5 minute marketing.

"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.