How do you turn your customers – whether they are patrons, employees, managers, partners, media, investors or any other stakeholders - into raving fans evangelizing your product, service or even yourself to others?
Having engaged listeners in diverse businesses spanning entertainment, new media, sports, publishing and education, and energized them into passionate advocates of my very different offerings, I have identified the three “audiences” crucial to creating my exponential business success which I want to share with you.
Thefirst “audience” isyou to you.
You are your first litmus test. Are you genuinely and authentically “sold” on your offering? Are you demonstrating your congruence – that your heart, tongue, feet and wallet all going in the same direction? If that does not shine through from the outset, it will be a tough slog trying to move anyone else to action. Be warned – you can’t fake it to make it.
A childhood friend of mine, George E. Marcus, who is now Professor of Political Science at Williams College and has extensively studied and written about the latest research in neuroscience, shared with me that the initial communication between a teller and their “audience” begins before the first word is spoken, and individuals who ignore this basic truth tend to fail. That’s because the brain functions as a constant surveillance system telling us as soon as we set eyes on another person, whether that individual is friend or foe, authentic or fake, trustworthy or dangerous. If we sense the other person is not authentic or distracted, we’ll automatically put up our defenses, either by tuning out entirely or listening with suspicion. You must establish and bring this authenticity into the room with you. Don’t leave your authenticity at the door! Whether you’re a CEO, sales person, volunteer organizer or small business owner, your listeners will never fully connect to you, buy into your proposition, or join your parade unless they feel your belief in the offering.
With your authenticity in place, you’re ready to convince your second “audience.”
The second “audience” is you to them
How do you get and hold your customers’ attention, whether one or many, in a noisy world? You will never succeed in moving “audiences” without first capturing their attention. You must disrupt the cacophony of noise running rampant in everyone’s heads and redirect theirattention before you ignite their intention to buy your product, give you a raise, join your company or invest in your proposition.
After 533 interviews and six years on television I finally learned that the key to successfully capture attention is by first focusing on the “what’s in it for them?” Don’t focus just on features, but the benefits to your customers/audiences and the emotional reward that it offers. The key is that this engagement must be an experience where your customer not just listens, but participates in the process. You must make it a dialog, not a monolog.
The third “audience” is them to them
With the third and final customers, you must surrender control, giving your viral advocates the tools they need to share their experiences you created for them with others exponentially creating more and more raving fans. It is essential that you surrender control over your offering or the way it’s told. It’s their voice and their authenticity that must pay their experience with you and your product forward. This powerful “word of mouth” is what ignites audiences into evangelizing products and services in the most elegant, economic and effective fashion.
Why? Because the product or service then owns the audiences’ hearts, not just their wallets. This explains the phenomena that leaves many business folks scratching their heads– which is that the products with the best physical attributes doesn’t always win. The product or service that owns their “audiences” emotions usually triumphs.