How to engage your customers in person

customer-engagementThese days, many small business owners talk to their customers online through their websites and social media. It’s important to be in touch with your customers in many different ways, but face-to-face customer engagement is still important. After all, according to Eric von Hippel, economist and professor at MIT, 77% of new product innovations come from the very people who used them.

Here are some tips for making great connections with your customers:

  1. Craft a compelling story before you meet customers. Make sure you have a great elevator pitch that explains why your business is so special in 60 seconds or less.
  2. Look for opportunities to tell your story and share your expertise. Instead of paying for a tradeshow booth, why not give a keynote address?
  3. Make the first move. The purpose of meeting customers is meeting customers – don’t be shy. Be friendly, approachable and above all, be authentic.
  4. Always be passionate. Shaking 1,000 hands can be exhausting, but if you’re not passionate about your business, no one else will be!
  5. Create a cause or invest in one. It’s not always about selling. An investment in social entrepreneurship tells your customer you want to make the world a better place too.
  6. Deliver on the promises you make to people you meet. Get business cards from your customers and enter the info into a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Continue the process of engagement by delivering value in the form of newsletters, blogs, social media, and relevant and timely emails.
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