Parallels Summit 2012: Kawasaki Offers ‘Enchanting’ Advice
Guy Kawasaki, technology guru and former Apple chief evangelist, kicked off the opening keynote at Parallels Summit 2012 Feb. 15 with a fascinating discussion about “enhancing” customers. It doesn’t matter if it’s cloud technology or cars, Kawasaki said, there’s an easy path to bringing in new customers and creating stickiness with them afterwards. The VAR Guy thinks the advice is well worth listening to, not just for VARs, but all companies …
It seems simple, but one of the basic tenets of sales is “likability,” Kawasaki said, and The VAR Guy has no problems in that department — he’s adored by millions of fans (insert self-deprecating comment here). But Kawasaki noted part of likability is simplicity: A genuine smile, an accepting attitude and saying “yes,” to customer requests. “In my experience, it’s rare that people expect you to do something that is unreasonable. And when it is, they’re not worth enchanting,” said Kawasaki.
The second tenant is “trustworthiness.” Show your customers you trust them, and in return, they’ll trust you. The examples given were Zappos.com and Amazon.com for their excellent return policies. Amazon trusts you won’t just read a book in a week and then return it. Zappos will pay for the shipping, even for returns. Those qualities make customers happy and comfortable making online purchases. And we all know: Happy customers mean more business.
Our resident blogger was unsurprised to learn tenet No. 3 is “perfection of service, product or quality of product.” If something is great, it will be “DICEE” (dicey), Kawasaki said. This neat acronym stands for Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering and Elegant. A bit buzzword-y, but Kawasaki happily pointed to Apple and its products, which embody all of these ideals. The VAR Guy can’t exactly argue with that.
While those three tenets were the foundation for Kawasaki’s “enchantment” checklist, they were far from the only important ideas. Most interesting to our resident blogger was Kawasaki’s insistence on engaging customers, especially through social media, which also can be used to provide value, information and insight into a product or technology — which can, in turn, continue to strengthen a bond and “enchant” a customer.
In a world of tricky advertising and misleading figures, Kawasaki also urged companies to use “salient points” to sell their goods. For example: calories vs. miles. If you went to the store and bought a bag of chips, would you want to know how many calories were in the bag, or how many miles you’ll need to run to burn them off? Kawasaki’s point showed that calories are often less tangibly understood than the idea of exercise. Similarly, a customer likely won’t care (or understand) about gigabytes, gigahertz or other tech specs — customers want to know exactly what they can get out of the technology. Using plain English can go a long way.
Our resident blogger knows there are plenty of VARs out there already hitting home runs, but it can’t ever hurt to double check your list. It’s about giving people what they need, how they need it. With that level of customer satisfaction, both companies and their VAR partners can benefit as they grow.