The One Unexpected Talent That Makes Us Love The Most Successful Leaders

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Artist Corner, Marketing Tips, Social Media Tips
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Steve Jobs knew how to do it. So do Google’s CEO Larry Page and Doris Christopher, the founder of The Pampered Chef. Howard Shultz can do it too, and he’ll buy you a cup of Grande Nonfat Latte because he knows that’s just what you want.

Each of these leaders has a talent that on the surface sounds like it will result in a lawsuit but in reality leads to long-term customer loyalty—the best kind of business romance—and an unending string of successful new product launches.

These leaders know how to FLIRT…with the right customers, that is.

Even though this is about romancing your customer, let me give you one personal example from my sordid past because it will lead us into an important business point, which will help you get the cold shoulder less often from the people you would like to become your customers.

A young lady that I know quite well often reminds me of how I started our relationship. Apparently, I told her how rich and successful I was going to be one day. She could have cared less, and my unimpressive first impression took me almost a year to overcome. In fact, it took over eight months to get a first date. Yikes. Thankfully, I recovered; she’s now my wife and she has forgiven me.

Looking back, the lessons I needed to learn as a young man are incredibly similar to the lessons that many company leaders need to learn very quickly. To oversimplify: It can’t be all about you. If you keep telling yourself what you have to offer is wonderful, instead of constantly asking, “what would someone want from us?” you are going to end up flirting with the uninterested.

How do you know if you’re flirting with the uninterested? Try these on for size:

She’s just not that into you.

You keep coming at her with what you think she should care about, but she looks the other way. In health care, it sounds like this: “You really need a wellness program.”

You play telephone.

You can’t figure him out, so you call other people who say they know him and ask them what he’s into. Remember the last time you saw an insurance ad for an annuity? Your agent told someone, who told someone else, who told someone else… that you’d find that sexy. Stop texting and get up the courage to have a face-to-face encounter. Your relationships will be more powerful.

You’re thinking with your head, not your heart.

You make a list of all the reasons you are a perfect match. Logically, every feature and benefit you offer is better than anyone else’s. Why can’t you get through to her? Feature benefits are great. Understanding how to emotionally connect is better.

You don’t shower or change your wardrobe.

You’re perfect the way you are. You figure you’ve been good enough for all the others and if she doesn’t dig you, she’s missing the boat. In other words, if you’re not constantly changing offering new products, services or business models, you’re effectively not flirting.

It’s really all about you.

You spend every moment together talking instead of listening. When was the last time you went directly to your end consumer and asked them what they desired most?

Let’s get sappy for a moment. Think back to the last time you fell in love. You may remember that your behavior and focus changed dramatically. You suddenly were keenly interested in listening, learning, changing—anything that would fill the immediate and long-term needs of your sweetie. Immediately, your flirting became much, much more skillful and effective.

Today, too many companies are left flirting with the uninterested, which will predictably lead to diminishing returns, less heart-flutter moments, and a lonely life with fewer and fewer loyal customers.

Follow me on Twitter @theideamonkey or read my Forbes blog here.

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