Ways to Earn Customer’s Attention

“Getting your customers attention should be one of the first things your business plan should mention.” – Julian Hall

There is no doubt that every company today is finding new and innovative ways to earn customer’s attention. Given, customers are surrounded by information all the time, and companies continue to bombard them with more, in a bid to become noticed, mental fatigue is becoming common for customers. The fact is the human brain can hold a limited amount of information, and the attention span is restricted too, gaining and arresting customer attention is becoming an increasingly tough challenge for companies. This in turn has resulted in companies ‘battling’ each other to reach, engage, and entice the available customer bases. For companies this makes customer’s attention a limited resource and therefore extremely valuable. The more information becomes easily available to customers, the shorter their span of attention and interest in looking at ‘offers’ that do not immediately attract them.

There are possibly only two ways for companies to grab customer’s attention – either by buying it or earning it through word of mouth. When paying to grab attention, the content that companies send out would be completely in their control – such as advertisements via television or radio, social media, SEM, and others. The other way to earn customer’s attention is by earning it – at least 83% customers reported that they would trust the recommendation of their friends and family, while 66% said they would trust the online comments of existing users. This form of attention and content is not something that companies control since it is dependent on the users and their decisions to spread the positive word of mouth. Media news too cannot be controlled by companies – they are entitled to report and share their thoughts about a company and its brand.

Without understanding how the ‘process of attention’ works, it would be tough for companies to work towards gaining it. Attention has both qualitative and quantitative aspects. From the quality perspective, it is about the intensity of the attention during a given period, while quantity deals with the time or duration of the attention. Marketers say that both the aspects – quality and quantity – are more intense and effective via earned attention, i.e. attention gained through word of mouth. It makes sense therefore, for companies to do whatever they can to ‘earn customer’s attention’. In order to understand the existing and target customer bases well, it is beneficial for a company to segment customers, depending on common factors. The other highly effective means of earning is by producing and sending out valuable and useful content to customers – which could either help them in their business or prove to be a great source of entertainment and enjoyment.

The best way however, to earn customer’s attention is through direct personal interactions. It is important for a company to remember that it would have the beginning few seconds in which to earn customer’s attention, since if they are unable to arrest the customer’s interest at the start, it would be almost impossible to get the customer to decide in its favour. The conversation starters too must be engaging and intelligent, followed by crisp and clear points indicating that the company representatives know exactly what they wish to convey. The benefit of direct interactions is being able to gauge the interest level and read the body language of the customer. The company representatives could easily control the conversation depending on how the customer may be receiving the information provided to them. If the customer seems receptive, it would be a good idea to make a sales pitch. However, if the mood seems negative or the customer seems to be in a hurry, it would be best to postpone any ‘selling’ talk, and rather request for another meeting. Company representatives, with a clear thought process, would appear a lot more confident and trustworthy – therefore, it is necessary to speak with customers only when well prepared. As mentioned, a short attention span would become even shorter if what you are saying stops making sense, and it is unlikely that customers would afford you another meeting.

One of the most effective ways to earn customer’s attention is by directing them to the crux and the main purpose of the meeting. This must emphasize the benefits of the company’s offer to the customer – this is sure to grab and keep their attention. Doing so makes the customer curious and interested in knowing more – it will encourage them to ask questions, which places control in the hand of the company representatives to mould the meeting and the rest of the conversation in the company’s favour.

The people representing the company must not only be calm and composed, they must also have the knack of helping the customer relax. The less strained and stressed customers would be, the easier it would be for them to be open-minded and understand the proposal of the company. They would also ask relevant questions, which would further lead to interest and possibly engagement with the company. The company must consistently and clearly show the customers the benefits they would gain – answering the age-old question of what’s in it for me, always works. Doing so makes the customers feel involved – it shows them the entire conversation is about them and their interests. Allow them ample time to speak – being good active listeners is also a great way to earn customer’s attention.

Customers are smart now – we all know that. It is therefore, imperative for the people representing the company to remain true to its culture, values, and mission. It is important to allow the customers to see the uniqueness of the company – its personality and methods. Trying to copy another company or person’s style will always backfire since customers are quick to perceive the fakes from the genuine. In addition, being true and honest lends a sense of confidence and panache – irrespective of how many confusing questions the customer may ask, the representatives would be able to tackle all. Honesty and confidence are sure ways to earn customer’s attention, and keep it with your company for a long time.

Confidence and honesty would bring enthusiasm and excitement to the tone and mannerism of the representatives. This is important – unless the company and its people are lively and enthused about their products and brand, it would be highly unlikely that they would be able to convince rushed and doubtful prospective customers to buy. Vibrancy and liveliness ensure a greater impact on the listener, enhancing the chances of the company to not only earn customer’s attention but gain their business too. Of course, there is a difference between being enthusiastic and appearing desperate. Ensure that this fine balance is maintained – customers rarely engage in business with companies that need to ‘shout’ and indulge in gimmicks to earn their attention. Speak smoothly and intelligently to customers – they would be more likely to listen and act in your favour.

There are several products and brands in the market today, and a number of companies do provide good customer service too. However, these become more apparent only after a company has gained a customer. What is important today is to earn customer’s attention by standing out in the crowded and noisy marketplace – how would your company do this? Has your company succeeded in creating and building an emotional connection with its target audience such that it can grab and sustain their attention?

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