To hustle or not to hustle?

That shouldn’t even be a question anymore. But it is, unfortunately.

From time to time, I hear the magic words: “Let’s send more mass newsletters with our offers. And let’s also look into acquiring new data bases for some cold calling/e-mailing.” I knew it was wishful thinking, but I hoped that the GDPR regulations will generate a shift in mentality… at least on the communication without permission front. But I still receive emails without ever subscribing and salesy calls. The other day, my mom was invited to join an “exclusive club”. When she asked how they got her mobile number, the answer was vague: “Maybe you had dinner at a restaurant or you just got back from a holiday or… “. As for me, it seems that I’m in desperate need of a new mattress and pillows. The reps that kept calling me weekly knew something I didn’t.

Then, there is the “let’s get a coffee” approach with the only purpose of selling a product or service. Mixed of course with a flattery e-mail or message. Because flattery will get you anywhere, right?!

Getting new sales, closing the deal. That’s the main focus. You run full speed ahead towards this goal. So, you invest the biggest chunk of your marketing budget to attract new customers. You end up spamming your subscribers with way too many plain newsletters. You waste precious time pushing your product or service instead of listening to the person in front of you or at the other side of a call. You are transactional.

What if you choose to go beyond the short-term gain? Take a step back and a deep breath. Gain perspective. Do an exercise. Turn the customer mode on! What type of customer are you? Do you read the newsletters that reach your inbox? What’s the latest one that made you click? Why do you stay loyal to a certain brand? Why not one of its competitors? Why do you still go to the cosy restaurant? Or stay in the same boutique hotel? Or choose a local farmer to buy from whenever possible?

I imagine that hustle wasn’t the main decision factor. No one likes to be hustled. We all want to be treated with respect, to be heard, to feel cared for. And of course, quality for the invested money. Our time is precious and when it is interrupted it should benefit us. This is the only way it will work. Otherwise, it will be overlooked or generate unnecessary tension.

Replace the transactional mindset. Focus on building a relationship with your customers. Earn their permission. Be honest and treat them with the respect you want to receive. Get to know them, learn their pain points. Find out more about their behaviour. Visualize it. Discover the reason behind those unopened newsletters. Learn about what they want to receive from you. Personalize the experience. When you get it wrong or don’t have the time, admit it and provide them with alternatives. Be specific and add value. Be there for them.

Before initiating your next interaction with a customer or a potential one, you should ask yourself: so what? Why would he or she care? Is it worth it? Make it count. Choose the long-term gain instead of the short-term hustle. It works. I’ve seen it in business of all ranges. In B2C and B2B. And it’s a strong foundation for growth. A customer who trusts you and is convinced by your remarkable product or service will recommend you. The customer will tell the story of how your offering changed his/ her life for better. Even the one who said no for now, will mention you because of your attitude. Do the work!