One of the ideas I like to share with my audiences is for each of them to form an Advisory Council. Here is how it works: Once a quarter, take your best customers out to dinner to a fancy restaurant or country club. It especially helps if these customers are what best-selling author Seth Godin calls “sneezers,” people who are most influential in your community.
After dinner, ask your Advisory Council some questions like, “I’d like to give you a sneak peek at some new products and services we are thinking about rolling out. What do you think?” or “This is our new business plan for next year. What advice would you give us?”
And you know, it really doesn’t matter what they say. The important thing is that you made these people, who seem to know everybody in the community, feel important.
Not only will they be happy to meet other like-minded, influential members of the community at the quarterly meeting, they are likely to become lifetime customers themselves. (After all, who among your competitors are treating them so royally?) Best of all, they likely will be unable to contain their enthusiasm around others about how you make them feel special.
After their quarterly meeting with you, if they overhear someone shopping for products or services that you offer, they are likely to chime in to the conversation, beginning with words like, “You know, if that is what you are considering, you really need to see my friends. They’ll take really good care of you!”
And we all understand the power of personal recommendation and that word of mouth is the most influential and effective form of marketing you can get.
And you too can get it, for the price of dinner and some drinks, simply by making your best customers feel important.