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A few weeks ago, at a concert in New Orleans, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters does what he does every night. He wins over fans one at a time.
You see, there was a fan at the show who had a problem. Halfway through the concert, his beer was empty. You can’t give up a spot in the front row to shove your way back to the beer vendors, so this fan was stuck beerless.
Dave, seeing this, took action. Between songs, as thousands of fans cheered him on, Dave Grohl took a beer from his personal stash on the stage, reached into the audience, and refilled the guys beer!
Not only did Dave make a fan-for-life out of that thirsty dude, but he gave a stadium full of people a “did you see that?” moment to tell their friends about. Twitter and Facebook went wild with posts about Dave Grohl refilling a fan’s beer.
Three key lessons in gaining customers-for-life from Dave Grohl:
1. Be real. When you are real, people connect with you. Be human. Be a friend. Friends refill friends beers. What do you do, in business, that turns your company into a friend? What is your company’s equivalent of filling up a fan’s empty glass of beer?
2. Be remarkable. If you want people to talk about your company, do something that they will want to share with others. Dave did something remarkable, and people remarked. So if you want similar word-of-mouth exposure, do something remarkable too. Don’t be unremarkable and expect people to talk about you.
3. Be generous. You have to give to get. Dave Grohl gave up a beer (small price) and stage time (possibly a larger price) in order to get a fan-for-life and worldwide media attention. Smart businesses today give something, like advice or knowledge or guidance, in order to win fans-for-life. Know what you have to give, and give it.
Notice that all three of these points contradict with traditional business practice.
“Be real? Forget it. Our company must project a perfect and flawless image. Don’t you know that Dave Grohl could have been sued if that fan was under 21 or if that fan got drunk at the show and killed someone driving home?”
“Be remarkable? We sell quality chairs at quality prices, and we won’t be undersold. Isn’t that remarkable?”
“Be generous. Hah! Do you know how much a quality chair costs these days? I’m not cutting into profit margins so that some classroom in Haiti has new chairs.”
Funny, but sad and true. I encounter that kind of thinking all the time.
Be real, be remarkable, and be generous. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you do.