Two sectors of marketing have existed for years. Simply known as B2B and B2C – business to business and business to consumer. This was, and still is to some point, a reasonable way of identifying two differing target audiences with ease.
I have personally been involved in both for the last 22 years – maybe B2B more so – but in the end there is of course one common link – humans. People. Customers. Buyers. Homeowners. Decision makers. Business owners. No matter which label you choose in your Excel spreadsheet, all are humans – like you, like me.
H2H, or human to human reference, has been identified and done the rounds on LinkedIn for a while now. But it’s something that I feel is still overlooked easily when senior management teams or marketers sit round a meeting table to discuss customer journeys. In a recent role I met many business owners, some one-man bands, some heads of multi-million pound companies. All were met with the same initial skills that I would utilise on anyone I had just met – interpersonal skills. The human touch. Skills learnt way before I got into marketing, or in fact work at all.
We could have the best product on offer in the world (an iPhone that doesn’t need charging for a year, or a car that runs on fresh air – just imagine!), but without building at least some rapport on a basic relationship level, the deal could be compromised from the start or could simply never happen.
Finding common ground with a potential customer is not about whether they are a trade customer or a homeowner – it’s about forming a relationship. Making them, and me for that matter, feel comfortable and valued. Being happy to share a coffee and sit with an (until recent) stranger – and listen to what has to be said.
Call it rapport, banter or good old-fashioned people skills – human to human is vital. It’s the first thing I try to apply to any new customer, any meeting and meeting of a stranger.
What makes you comfortable when you meet someone new? How do you like to be treated by a stranger? How do you like to be ‘sold to’ or convinced of a plan/product? Apply what makes you feel comfortable to ‘them’.
Make them feel comfortable as a human and you might just make them feel comfortable as a new customer – YOUR new customer.