Building emotional connections with customers

Small business expert Melinda Emerson shares tips you can use to build even stronger connections with your customers.

Melinda Emerson, known to many as SmallBizLady, is one of America's leading small business experts and is a paid contributor for Wells Fargo. 

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Published: August 15, 2013

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TEGAN JONES:           

Hi. I’m Tegan Jones for the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. Today, we’re discussing how to build connections with customers using your business’s brand. Joining me is Melinda Emerson, SmallBizLady, and author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months. Thanks for joining me, Melinda.

MELINDA EMERSON:           

Happy to be here, Tegan.

JONES:           

Melinda, you’ve talked before about how customers buy from businesses they like, know, and trust. What’s the relationship between branding a business and making an emotional connection with customers?

EMERSON:           

Well, you make an emotional connection with customers when you resolve their pain. People buy when it hurts. So, your brand is everything. It’s your packaging. It’s your uniforms. I mean, it’s even the tone of the voice of the person that answers the phone at your business. What you want to do is have a brand that stands out from your competitors. And the best way to do that is to have your brand message communicate the problem that you solve.

JONES:           

So, if you’re a business owner, how can you take your business relationships to that next level?

EMERSON:           

It’s important to understand the value that your customers bring to your business financially. You should first understand how much money they spend with you monthly, quarterly, and annually.

Look at their industry. Is their industry changing? This will help you better position yourself and your customer will come to you before anyone else. That’s how you can take your business to the next level.

JONES:         

What about one-on-one interactions with customers? Where do they fit in?

EMERSON:           

Every small business owner that has long-term contracts should schedule regular face-to-face meetings with your customers. You should use these interactions to get feedback on how you’re servicing their business. You want to find out if they’ve got any new products or services coming out.

And you also want to catch up personally. I have found in business that it is my personal relationships, it’s remembering people’s names, remembering their kids’ names, remembering their spouse’s name, and asking them about their upcoming vacation. That’s where you build deep emotional connection and rapport, and you build a friendship. And when you build friendships with your customers, your customers tend to become that much of a better advocate for your business internally.

JONES:           

What role does the competitive landscape play in this type of brand building? How can business owners determine why customers might choose another business over theirs?

EMERSON:           

Well, I think all small business owners should figure out who their top three competitors are. Look at their branding, look at their value proposition, and then look at their pricing. Evaluate things like their website, any online reviews, and determine really what benefits they are providing to their customers. You should consider using Google alerts to track their activities online. And you should use this information to determine how you’re going to position your business effectively against your competition.

JONES:           

Thanks, Melinda. I think these tips will help business owners build those emotional ties that create successful brands.

EMERSON:           

Happy to help, Tegan.

JONES:           

And thank you for joining us for this segment of the Wells Fargo Business Insight Series. To learn more about how Wells Fargo Business Banking can help you, visit wellsfargo.com/biz. In the meantime, we wish you continued success.

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