For many years I lived in South Florida and for many years, while I was there, I often visited the Riverwalk in Ft Lauderdale. If you’re not familiar with the area, it’s a busy street of shops, bars, restaurants along the New River in Broward County. There are usually several bands playing, lots of folks walking their dogs, birds, lizards, whatever (you know South Florida – it’s crazy down there!). Anyway, the Riverwalk was always one of the very best things to do in Ft Lauderdale.
Just the other day a friend of mine told me that the restaurants in that area are closed. During this “snow bird season” the Riverwalk is normally filled with people, music and entertainers. But, as she walked there last Saturday, there were just a handful of people walking around. Many shops were closed, almost all the restaurants were shut down.
Of course that news saddened me and it also surprised me a bit because I didn’t realize the impact the recession has had on that economy. Now that I live in Atlanta, I just don’t see the impact of the recession here as much. Hmm – maybe John Edwards is right about one thing, there really are 2 Americas.
But that story also got me thinking about the new economy. What are the new customers of tomorrow going to look like? What will they do? And more important, what can businesses do today to get ready for those new customers? After all, no one wants to end up on a quiet street with a “closed” sign on their door!
Jeffrey Gitomer Had An Answer
So, some of you know I’ve recently begun working with a business mentor, John Miller and he’s truly been wonderful. After 10 years of doing SEO, I’m finally learning some things about actually running a business! Anyway, John introduced me to Jeffrey Gitomer and an article that he wrote about the “new customer”. Hmm – guess I’m thinking in the right direction!
But basically, Gitomer goes on in his article talking about what the “new customer” of tomorrow looks like and here are his bullets…
* He’s going to decide somewhat slower. He’s been hesitating for more than a year.
* He’s angry about the value of his home, and the value of his investments.
* He will not be doing business the same way it’s been done before.
* He will not be banking the same way he banked before.
* He will not be advertising the same way he advertised before.
* He will not be buying a car the same way he did before.
* He will not be buying a home the same way he did before.
* He will not be investing the same way he did before.
* He’s online. Checking out your website – and your competitor’s website.
* He’s socializing. Telling everyone what’s happening in his world and the world.
* He’s Tweeting, Facebooking, and Linked-In-ing. Social media is still a firestorm.
* He’s blogging about his experiences with you, for the world to read.
* He’s YouTubing about his experiences with you for the world to watch – by the millions (any questions United Airlines?).
* He’s Googling, not yellow-paging.
* He’s texting. A lot.
* He’s using his mobile device to do damn near everything.
* He’s WiFi-ing in his hotel room, on the plane, in Starbucks, and at home.
* IF he’s reading a paper, or getting the news, it’s online.
* He’s as likely to watch The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or listen to Howard Stern for news as he is to watch a network “news” person read a tele-prompter.
* He’s purchasing after midnight. By the billions.
* He’s looking for ease of doing business with you.
* He is value oriented, but will look to price as part of the decision.
* He wants a relationship.
* He wants, needs, and expects GREAT service after the sale.
* He does not want to wait for anything or anyone.
* He needs help and expert advice.
* He’s looking for ideas and answers.
* He can check your price and your facts in two seconds or less on Google.
* He knows as much about your product as you do.
* He knows MORE about your competitor’s product than you do.
* He can pay right now IF you can take a credit card online.
* He expects someone to answer the phone when he calls that can actually HELP.
* He is SICK of off-shore call centers, erroneously called “help desks.”
* He is SICK of you telling him how important his call is while he stands on hold.
* He is SICK of your recorded hold message.
* He demands the truth. All the time.
* He no longer trusts the institutions he used to hold sacred.
* He expects you to be as computer literate as he is.
* He needs to be understood and feel your sincere concern.
* While you are qualifying him, he is qualifying you.
* If he needs a referral or recommendation, he’ll go to Craig’s list or Angie’s list or Google or his next door neighbor, or anyone else but you…UNLESS you have video testimonials online.
You can read his entire article here on his facebook. And it’s an interesting read.
So, go through this list a few times, take it to your next staff meeting (even if it’s at the kitchen table) and make a list. What is your business doing to meet this “new customer” on his terms? More importantly, what can your business do to meet this “new customer” on his terms? Create your to-do list and start right away. Because in my opinion, that new customer is already here.