Individualize Your Business Interactions, Or Else

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Ominous, right? There’s a lot to be said for getting your attention right off the bat.

So here’s the crux of my argument: Either adapt the way you interact with customers and employees to the 21st century, or get left in the dust. It’s a simple argument, but one I would really urge you to listen to.

The days of sales manuals are gone. I watched a Three’s Company the other night in which John Ritter’s character tries to sell encyclopedias by clumsily reading from a pre-programmed sales pitch. It was about as effective in the 1970’s as it would be today, though showing up in bell bottoms would probably hurt your chances even more in 2011.

In fact, customers don’t even want to hear pitches any more. I like to hammer this point home on occasion because it remains such a critical one for small businesses, but the old approach is simply too wide a net for customers who like things tailored to their individual tastes. That means you need to take your messaging to that level, as much as is possible.

The consequences among your customers, should you fail to make the necessary changes, reads like the hair-raising side effects on a bottle of medicine.

  • Loss of interest in your brand.
  • Loss of ability to hear your messaging.
  • Closed wallet syndrome.
  • Badmouthitis.

Now, I realize not every company can truly tailor everything down to the micro level. Not every individual customer can receive a message that’s geared directly to them, and sometimes it’s more than a little creepy to do so (I see you like pink throw pillows, Mr. Anderson. Might we suggest a matching blanket for your living room?). But making an honest effort goes a very long way, and being able to get messaging in front of specific industries and

That means gathering data effectively, being personable and offering what customers want. That’s easier said than done when you have small marketing staffs, but I promise you it’s well-worth the effort.

How do you individualize your interactions? Let’s hear your stories.

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