(Time to read this article is about 90 seconds)

Our customers have ‘4 currencies’ in their lives…not just one.  A ‘currency’ is anything of value to us that we don’t have enough of.  The obvious currency is money, but there are actually four things that we don’t have enough of…

  1. Money,
  2. Time,
  3. Feeling safe (physically and emotionally safe)…and,
  4. Feeling special.

There are huge business opportunities in helping people feel more special.  In the Western world, a major chunk of the money we spend is for no other reason than to feel special. 

A $25,000 automobile will get us everywhere we want to go, safely and on time.  It will even have air bags and air conditioning. But, for many people, it just won’t make them feel ‘special’ enough.  They need to spend $50,000, $80,000 or $180,000 to feel special behind the wheel.  

Many folks (not me) cheerfully pay $250 for a $40 windbreaker because it has a designer name scrawled across the back in 4 inch letters.  WOW…they pay 6 times more, just to feel special.   And don’t even get me started on $800 ‘designer jeans’.  They’re jeans folks…get over it.  

As a marketing guy, I love the whole ‘designer label’ thing.  Find a niche, tell a story, build a brand, charge a premium price…I get it.  But as a human being, philosophically, I’m appalled that so many people can only feel good about themselves while pretending to be somebody else.

So, people do want to feel special.  Last year I did some coaching for a major yacht retailer.  At a big international Boat Show, towards the end of the week, they were trying to get some prospects back to the Show to close very big ‘deals’ on multi-million dollar yachts.   I suggested they send a limo and driver to pick these folks up, bring them back to the Boat Show, have the company President meet them at the door and escort them to their booth (you don’t want them to end up in a competitor’s booth)…and then have the limo take them home or back to the office when they’re ready to go.  People who spend millions of dollars on a boat want to feel special.  End of story.

Years ago, in my days as an award-winning fashion retailer, we offered a choice of 4 free beverages, electric massage chairs for husbands and boyfriends, a Pirate Ship play area for kids, change tables with free diapers, wipes and cream for babies in distress and a magic sign that invited customers to ‘Please take as many items in the change room as you wish!’  No competitor had the guts to do this stuff.  Women loved it and thousands of them drove up to 3 hours for an experience that made them feel special. 

It always amazes me that whenever I rush into my dry cleaners to pick up my clothes, they’re always right there at the front of the motorized rack.  As I approach the counter, Mr. Chen, reaching for my cleaning always says, “Good afternoon Mr. Cooper. Your cleaning is right here at the front.”  I’m always at the front…I love it!

He never asks for my little ticket (which I’ve always lost anyway) and I never have to wait while he searches for my stuff.  It saves me time and somehow I feel special!  How does he do it?  He makes a point of observing and memorizing what car his regular customers drive and as soon as he sees them pull into the parking lot he rotates the rack so that their clothes are at the front in order to, as he put it, “Create a small blessing in people’s busy day!” 

Whether your business is large or small, whether what you sell is expensive or not, your customers want to feel special. Learn from Mr. Chen…learn to recognize them, know them and honor them with ‘small blessings’!

Just returning phone calls or answering emails quickly will make people feel special. When we don’t share our customers’ sense of urgency, we dishonour them. 

So, what neat little things will you do in 2019 to make your customers feel more special?  Sit down with a few of the best hearts and minds in your business and ask for their help in coming up with ways to make customers feel more special every time they touch your business in any way.  

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