Yes, we all have them.
A professional crush is someone who is brilliant and you admire a lot (sometimes from afar). You want to follow in their footsteps. You’d love to pick their brains all day. You will do anything to work on a project with them.
For years now, one of my professional crushes has been Guy Kawasaki, Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Apple evangelist and marketing guru. I first met and wrote about Guy in 2007 when he was speaking about his book The Art of the Start – a start-up bootstrapper’s bible that I still refer my clients to.
Like real-life crushes, throughout the years, my path would cross with Guy’s – close, but not quite close enough:
- My friend Ria Sharon hosted a “virtual pajama party” as a fundraiser and I was on the same “virtual stage” as Guy and Lewis Howes.
- When I started my blog two years ago with just four posts and a Twitter following of maybe a hundred, Guy tweeted about me and one of his followers contacted me to work for his company. Talk about social media power.
- And more recently, Guy was interviewed by Maruxa Murphy and she mentioned to him that she first heard about him from me.
Like real-life crushes, I’m sure Guy still didn’t know me from the 365,000 followers he currently has on Twitter.
When I found out he was coming to Vancouver for an event, I thought about buying a ticket, but that wouldn’t differentiate me from the hundreds of people there. I wanted to stand out.
So I set out to enchant my professional crush from what I’ve learned from his books and speeches. Here’s what Guy says about Enchantment and how I, in turn, implemented it:
Remove Barriers to Entry
This is about making it easy for people to get started with your product or service. “Don’t ask people to fill out 10 fields of personal information to open an account. Don’t require an appointment for a consultation,” says Guy. “Instead, create a slippery slope that gets people to work with you as quickly as possible.
Since I knew Guy was promoting his new book and it seemed the event wasn’t doing any PR, I reached out to him to see if he wanted to do a media interview with local press. I showed that I understood his needs, and by helping him out, empower him with more exposure as well as allow him to “try” out our PR service with no risk and no obligation.
I’m thrilled when Guy responds to me with a “Yes, let’s do this.”
Deliver Bad News Early
As Guy says: “Shiitake happens: products have problems, deliveries get delayed, employees get sick. Be proactive and tell your customers about the problem before they discover the hiccup for themselves. And to get on top of your game, let them know how you’ll solve the problem at the same time.”
Guy had time for only one interview and it had to be with a national outlet. We managed to secure the interview two weeks in advance of the event, no problem.
But, shiitake happens. Less than 48 hours before the event, the reporter cancelled on us. I was really embarrassed, especially since Guy gave me two tickets worth $800 to the event as a thank you. I offered to return them.
Guy being Guy, he responds: “It’s okay. Attend the event anyway. I’ll just play hockey that morning!”
Enchanting, for sure.
And I have to say, I work with an equally enchanting colleague, Jackie Peterson. She placed numerous calls and emails, trying to get a national publication at short notice. Together, we also played the six degrees of separation game: “Who do we know, that would know so and so….”
With a little bit of persistence and creativity (all the while sweating bullets about our reputation with Guy), we managed to secure a national media outlet with a reach of over 1 million. And because we reached out to multiple people, more interviews are in the works.
Phew. Reputation with professional crush, rescued.
Allow People to Reciprocate
Guy says: “People you help, want to give back. Let them.”
Reciprocating doesn’t have to mean cash for your services. In our case, Guy gave us passes to the event, and is sending over signed copies of his book.
In other cases where you have demonstrated your product or service on a trial basis, you could ask for a testimonial that would help give you credibility. You could ask for feedback or mentorship. You could ask for an introduction to a company or a contact of theirs that you would like to meet. You might just get what you asked for!
Be A Yes-Man (or Woman)
Finally, Guy says “The single most powerful way to enchant is with a “yes” attitude. It means that you believe the customer is right and reasonable until proven wrong and unreasonable. Custom order? No problem. Early delivery? No problem. Return for full credit? No problem. The math might show that if you did this for everyone, you’d go broke, but not everyone will ask for such treatment. In fact, very few will, and those that do will become your greatest evangelists, so they’re worth the exception.”
Go forth and enchant your customers.
Enchant your influencers too. Often the goodwill you create will go further, and feel much better, than cold, hard, cash.
How do you enchant people with your business? Let me know by posting a comment below, or by sending me a message on Twitter or Facebook.
Reach Guy on Twitter.
Order his latest book, Enchantment, and take up Guy’s special offer.
Elena is founder of a technology PR agency that works with startups to billion-dollar companies. She is passionate about helping marketers and small business owners with practical publicity strategies, which she's also using for her own bling flip flop company.
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