by Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president
Talk about zombies at bbr marketing isn’t as unusual as you’d think. Most of us are pretty diehard (hehe) Walking Dead fans and the show is filmed in various locations around our homes in Atlanta. Kelly is a huge fan of the genre, having read most of the good books and seen most of the movies, both good and bad. We even dressed as zombies for our annual Halloween card a few years ago, generating quite a bit of buzz.
So when I saw the title of the keynote session at the AICPA/AAA/AAM conference, where I am today, was about Zombie Loyalty, needless to say, my interest was piqued. Add to that the fact that Peter Shankman, the founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), was the speaker and it became a “must see” session.
So what exactly is “zombie loyalty”? The basic idea is to figure out ways that brands and firms can develop customer loyalty so strong that people are willing to drag their friends to that brand or firm. Sounds good, eh? The secret, according to Shankman, is simple, too: If you want more clients, be awesome to them.
Shankman went on to say that there are four key things that turn clients into zombie loyalists:
1. Here’s the deal…you can’t lie anymore. With social media, camera phones and instant communication at our fingertips, it is only a matter of seconds before you are found out and your lie is exposed publicly. So when you make a mistake, and we all do, own it and fix it. I loved this quote, “Owning it turns a hater into a lover and no one loves like a former hater.” So next time you make a mistake, own it, apologize for it and fix it. This will allow you to move on and people will respect you for it.
2. Are the things you are talking about relevant to your clients and prospects? If not, change your message. When you give your audience information that they care about in the way that they want to receive it, they are 2.5x more likely to work with you and 4.5x more likely to refer you to others, according to Shankman. Never assume; listen to your audience.
3. Bad writing can destroy your business, so it is important that firm leaders either become or hire better writers. The average attention span for new clients is 2.7 seconds, so if you don’t get to the point right away, they have already moved on to the next shiny object. Learn to be a compelling, clear and concise communicator. Oh, and if your communications are littered with misspelled words, people will assume you can’t do anything else well either.
4. When Barry Diller was CEO of Paramount, he started every day by calling 10 people just to say hi. This allowed him to stay top of mind with his contacts, and in turn, they called him when they needed to talk to a studio head about an interesting new project. It wasn’t long before Paramount went from near bankruptcy to thriving, in large part due to Diller’s personal efforts. Depending on your ideal client base, pick the communication method that makes the most sense. Whether you phone, email or reach out via social media, pick five people a day – or even a week – and start a conversation. Don’t ask for business, but ask for advice or input or simply share something interesting. Before long, these contacts will turn into fans and your efforts will be rewarded in the form of growth.
When it comes down to it, none of this is all that hard and it certainly isn’t breaking any new ground, but it does work, particularly for professional services firms. Go out today and be awesome to clients and tell us how it turns out!