Interest isn't caring

It's easy to fool ourselves into believing that if we're generating interest, we're connecting with people. This leads to all kinds of bad assumptions. I know. I've heard them over the years.

Here's a good one: "We just need to get their attention, then we can sell them."

Really? That's what we believe about our prospects? We'll just holler, "Hey, take a look at this shiny thing!" Then while we have them distracted, we'll sell them. They'll be our customers before they even know what happened!

We're not selling. We're helping them buy.

Today it seems absurd to coerce people into making a purchase. It reminds me of the hard press of a timeshare salesmen. Even if you can pressure someone into buying, what kind of relationship does that create? What is the likelihood they would renege on the deal? Being an adversary with our customers doesn't sound like a high value strategy to me.

We need to change our paradigm from selling to helping our prospects buy. That means changing the way we think and talk about the interactions and relationships we have with them all along their customer journey. If we do that, we'll find ourselves developing new and innovative ways to help them. They, in turn, will be more likely to help us by becoming our customer. On top of it all, it just sounds like a more fun and intrinsically rewarding way to do business.

Moving from interest to caring

If we're going to make this shift, we need to move our focus from generating interest among prospects to creating caring. In a recent post, I proposed we ask the question, "Who cares?"

Let’s look at the question, “Who cares?” Are we really inquiring about whom in the general vicinity may have an emotional attachment? No. It has actually become less of a question and more of an indictment of a lack of emotional resonance. We’re not looking for an answer when we utter, “Who cares?” We use it to point out that an idea, a feature, a process, etc. has very little merit. Here’s the fascinating part. We use the word ‘care’. We don’t say, “Who has an interest?” Interest is rational. To make our point, we get straight to the emotional. We ask, “Who cares?”

It is not easy to create real reasons to care. It means moving beyond features and functions to finding the real meaning your brand can bring to the lives of your prospects. But it's worth the effort. Because unlike interest, caring has the potential to deliver special customers. Devout customers. Customers who tell others about you. Customers who become advocates and evangelists.

If you're just focused on generating interest, you'll never get to that kind of magical relationship.