Recently, I have been bombarded with ‘push’ marketing emails from some people who have obviously attended a seminar on ‘building and converting lists’ as their main sales and marketing strategy. They are not talking with me, they are simply shouting AT me.
It makes me wonder how little time have they really put in to deciding that I am the sort of personthat they can flog to me and charge me for.
It reminds me that there is a transactional approach – or a ‘bigger game’ approach – of dealing with your customers:
1. The transaction model. In this model, the organisation has something specific to sell. They go out and find customers that may want to buy it. They trade – or more precisely, they transact. Only the act of exchange brings value to both parties and the customer only serves as a recipient of the good or service for the supplier.
This is a ‘closed loop’ arrangement of supply and transaction. Once the transaction is completed, the customer can choose to transact again or not. There is no additional value created in such an approach. The only concern is finding someone to buy the product. If I blast 100 people with my ‘pitch’ and get one sale, I am focusing only on the one transaction, rather than the 99 people I have (possibly negatively) impacted.
2. Playing the bigger game with a relational customer model. In this model, it is through a shared understanding of your need and my capacity to assist in fulfilling your need that true value is created. I care about you as an individual and believe that I can structure a solution which meets all or part of your need that enriches your experience. This can become an open model that is sustainable for both the customer and the supplier.
With your knowledge of the problem and my knowledge of potential solutions, we can create a very specific outcome that benefits us both. We create new solutions by solving problems together, and we create learning opportunities and foster innovation for us both which don’t exist if I only transact with you. In the end we still have ‘transacted’, however value of our interaction is far more than just the transaction to both parties.
The customers usually love the experience of the relational transaction, and prefer it, whilst both sides learn and grow. In this model, I need to understand you deeply and you need to understand me deeply to see how the symbiosis of working together brings us both value.
So what does this have to do with the emails that I received? Blasting me with poorly targeted, scarcity laden emails as your sales and marketing strategy achieves neither of these important outcomes. It demonstrates you don’t actually care about me, just what you sell. The lack of understanding of me and my needs (or even my problems!) as an individual meant that this approach badly missed the mark. The desire to transact outweighed the desire to relate.
They missed the opportunity to understand me and my needs and left value for both sides on the table. If they understood me and showed me how what they did could make a difference to me, then I would relate – and then transact. Although many organisations claim to offer relational style service, their true aim is to transact. Their interest ends at the outcome – putting the money in the bank.
The problem with this is that it is not a sustainable model. The transaction is completed in a closed manner, no learning has occurred and the ability for both sides to benefit to a larger extent than just the transaction are lost. More value is left on the table. Consider the way in which you transact with your customers and when you ‘relate’. How much value are you leaving on the table by not playing the bigger game of relating always, and transacting when it is of mutual value?