Think about this question:  Who do you love?

Are you more in love with you’re your clients?  Or are you more in love with your product, service, processes or “the way you’ve always done it”?

What is more important to you?  Is it providing a WOW experience to your clients?  Building a relationship with your customers so they grow to know, like and trust you?  How about being constant and never ending innovation in your product or service offering?

Or is it building a purple widget because you’ve always built purple widgets?

Companies that create die-hard fans focus first on their clients, especially those in their target market, and then on their products and services.

Blockbuster famously went from being a $5 Billion giant in 2004 to extinct today because they were in love with their products, their business model and, unfortunately, their late fees.  We can safely assume, they loved their customer’s money, but did they truly care about their customers.  Were they focused on proactively meeting unmet needs?  Were they focused on constant and never ending innovation?  I believe their results speak for themselves.

Organizations that thrive, not just survive, over the long haul are those who have an almost maniacal focus on their clients.  They are willing to innovate in the face of extinction of their products, services and business model.  Said another way, organizations that create die-hard fans learn to love their clients more than their existing products services. This means they don’t just focus on their clients’ functional needs; they focus on their emotional needs.

Apple is a great example of loving your customers more than your product.  Apple’s late founder, Steve Jobs, was so focused on their customers that he challenged his organization to create products that were so intuitive they did not even need a user’s guide or a power switch.

So how do you fall in love with your clients?

The first step is to define your target market.  A good rule of thumb is that your target market should be big enough to generate 80% of your total revenue.  Look at the other 20% as a sandbox for experimentation.  Some of this experimentation will eventually lead to new markets that will become part of your target market.

The second step, once you’ve identified your target market, is focusing your sales and marketing efforts in an area where you know you can meet the three levels of needs:

  • Functional – meeting expectations of capabilities, service cost and quality
  • Emotional – providing joy, confidence, peace of mind, certainty and social belonging
  • Altruistic – a sense of identity, the ability to help the greater good of society and a sense of status

The third step is actually meeting these needs.  Meeting each of these needs is like taking a step up a ladder.  In other words, it is difficult to earn the right to meet an emotional need if you cannot meet a functional need and it is more difficult to earn the right to meet an altruistic need if you are not meeting both functional and emotional needs.  Die-hard fan clients are created when you can meet all three levels of need.

Who do you love?  If it’s your clients, look for ways to love them more.  Can you do more towards meeting their emotional or altruistic needs?

If it’s your products, it might be time to re-evaluate your strategy and find some love for your clients.


For more strategies and information on how to build a die-hard fan base, join me on May 11 at the Dallas Business Journal.  During our 2-hour workshop, we’ll dive deep into the idea of “Creating Raving Fan Clients through a Raving Fan Culture.


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