A casual acquaintance stopped me in a parking lot the other day to ask about my car. I don’t know him well, but he said he was in the market for my style of vehicle and had looked up my model as a possibility. I told him the features I liked and disliked, and why. I even told him about my interactions with the dealership where I bought the car. After digging through my glove box, I found the original salesperson and supplied his number. (I don’t even know if the salesperson is still with the dealership anymore, as it’s been three years since I bought the car.) This interaction is an example of the collaborative economy.
Everyone’s a Salesman
Coincidentally, that day I was in the parking lot of my gym with my son. My son plays lacrosse and was starting personal training with a speed and agility trainer to improve his skills during the off season. The last thing the trainer said as we were walking out the door was a suggestion that my son bring a couple friends to the next session. The trainer knows he’s going to make more money by having my son’s friends in the class, and my son will be motivated and pushed by his friends. This is the power of collaborative economy—having your customers sell for you.
It occurred to me I hardly ever buy anything without asking friends or family their thoughts on buying similar products. Everyone knows the old adage: A happy customer will tell 10 people and an unhappy customer will tell 500 people. I think this has changed in the age of the Internet and the collaborative economy. Everyone tells anyone all about their experiences on all purchases. The Internet and social media have created this new relationship between salespeople and customers.
Make Your Own Luck
It is no longer acceptable to trust that your customers will share good experiences. Instead, you must make it easy for them to inform their friends about them. Don’t just make it easy to complain, but make it easy to share their great experiences with a friend.
The best way to do this is to create a “friends and family” listing within your Customer Master Data Management (MDM) system. Allow your customers to create a list of friends that they automatically want to have a relationship with in the context of your company. Incentivize them to offer advice, discuss good service, and perhaps even offer discounts to their friends. Make their friendship with others, in the context of your company, a valuable and cherished part of their relationship with you.
If your customers become your best salespeople, your revenue will grow at a fraction of the cost. By tracking this relationship within a flexible MDM system, you can create an experience for your customers and customers’ friends that allows you to take advantage of the collaborative economy.
Learn more about how to use cutting edge technology to Turn Customers Into Fans.