Once you’ve picked the right customers for your business, you want to get them feeling like they are a part of what you do. Don’t wait to get your customers involved. Start before there’s even a product or service to sell.
If the customer has no effect on product development, you’ll probably get the product wrong. Now, I would never suggest that you hand over control of the product to your customers. But you do need to involve them early on so that you actually build the product they want.
The right input at the right time is immensely valuable to you and your team. However, give your customers too much of a voice, and you will produce a bad product. The key is finding the balance.
- Customers are generally good at reacting, not creating.
- They will never tell you to subtract, only to add.
Keep this in mind as you gather feedback and make decisions about your business. It’s so worth it to make your customers feel like they are a part of the process. Not only will they help you make the product better, but they are also the very beginning of your core audience. You’re going to be able to convert these folks to early adopters.
If you handle this right, these folks will become your best sales reps. They will find and convert leads for you—and they’ll do it for free. What’s more, they will do it better and more effectively than you—or any sales rep—you hire.
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In this episode, I mentioned a book called Brand Advocates: Turning Enthusiastic Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force by Rob Fuggetta. I’m assigning it to my students this term, and I highly recommend it to you too. He gives a ton of data on how “word of mouth” marketing is way more effective than traditional “awareness” marketing—and how to activate it.