Good Advice: Try Not to Kill Your Customers

I DO have a valuable marketing point in this post, so please bear with me…

Last night, one of my more hyper-responsive customers (Tom) stopped by my house for dinner.   He’s been a VERY successful coaching student for approximately 8 months and was passing through the area, so I offered to cook for him.

No problem so far, right?

Except, I really, really, really can’t cook (for other people).  I don’t know why.

Something always seems to go horribly wrong.  And I’m not just being modest or polite… I mean horrendously wrong as in you want to be sure there’s an ambulance near-bye.

It always starts with the best intentions.

Last night I started with Black Bean chili.   I was just gonna heat it up from the can. But I burned it beyond recognition.  It was burned so badly, Sharon made me leave it outside on the porch to try and air out the house before Tom arrived.

There was also brown rice, of course.  How hard is it to steam brown rice?  Apparently VERY.  Because even though I make rice myself about 3x/week, this particular batch just didn’t want to make.

I put it in the steamer for well over 90 minutes, checking every 20.  (It usually only takes an hour).  God knows why, but the damn rice just wouldn’t cook.  It was INVINCIBLE .

Despite the mounds of steam, and the fact that all vegetables steamed perfectly well  (as they had a hundred time before), this particular batch just sat there like a rock.  As in, I may has well have just gone outside and scooped up some gravel to pour the burnt chili over.

Finally, there was the salad dressing.  I was going to blend up some garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and a little water.  (Usually works really well).  But for some reason this came out too thin, so I thought I’d fix that with a little Guar Gum.

Result?  Disgusting Garlic puddling.  Yummmm.

You may think I’m taking dramatic license for this post and exaggerating for effect.  But I’m not.  I’m quite realistically describing what happened.

I can’t imagine how Tom could be saying anything to his family today besides “Uhm… I don’t know why, but Glenn tried to kill me”.

When I went upstairs with Sharon at night she said “Honey, I have to say that was about the worst cooking I’ve ever, EVER had in my life.  What possessed you?”

OK, now back to marketing your business.

Tom will stay with me regardless of the bad food.  So will your most hyper-responsive customers… you’re entitled to make a mistake once in a while.

When you’ve truly established a hyper-responsive customer, your job has more to do with NOT UNSELLING them.  There’s a natural momentum the customer wants to maintain.  They want to continue the relationship and grow/consume more with you.    It’s only natural for people to want more of a good thing, right?


It really IS possible to “kill” (UNsell) your customers.

I see it all the time.

I used to supervise coaches and psychotherapists who constantly complained to me about the unreliability of their income, not having enough clients/patients, not knowing why clients constantly left before accomplishing their goals.

But when you really listened to their stories, you inevitably saw something the coach/therapist did to UNSELL their client.

Sometimes it was blatant, like confronting the client too hard before developing a solid foundation in the relationship.  Other times it was subtle, like constantly coming 1 minute late for the appointment.  (The difference isn’t the 1 minute, it’s who waits for whom, and believe me personal service clients have a whole different experience when they’re forced to wait for you instead of feeling that you’re all set, prepared, and looking forward to seeing them)

In the products business, it’s slightly under-delivering a few times in a row (they’ll usually forgive it once), after you’ve established a history of excellence and delight/surprise.

Why would a marketer do this?

Human nature, really.

We always want what we don’t yet have.  Which means we’ve always got our eye on “the next level”, too frequently forgetting about the people who got us where we are now.

You can guard against this by honestly asking yourself 3 simple questions…

– Why do my best customers stay with me?

– What have I STOPPED doing for my best customers, which I simply need to reinstall in my business?

– What have I done recently which could UNSELL my most hyper-responsive people?

OK, now, who wants leftovers?

G 🙂

PS – This isn’t the first time I’ve cooked people out of my home.  Terry Dean’s spent a weekend with me on more than one occasion.  It’s kind of fun to see him squirm (he’s so polite) and ask “Um, Glenn, how about we get  Chinese Food again tonight?”.     And Perry Marshall’s due to stop bye for lunch next month when he’s passing through.    When I offered to make vegan cooking for him, he said “that sounds like fun”.  We’ll see!