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Chris LoCurto

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August 31, 2012

When Leadership And Marketing Unite

August 31, 2012 | By | 40 Comments">40 Comments

Here’s a great post by Joel Fortner. Joel’s company, BlueBridge Communication, specializes in helping entrepreneurs effectively market their business. He is also the author of the intelligent blog, Get, Serve, Keep.  You can guest post as well. Read how to here.

From leading your team to leading yourself, there is tons of great content Chris and others have written here. Today, though, let’s talk about leading someone else –your customer.

Putting the bottom-line up front, or having a great product or service isn’t enough. You need Leadership Marketing. What’s that? It’s about taking responsibility to get people to know, like and trust you, so they can benefit from what you offer.

As an entrepreneur, your goal is to sell your offering, make money, meet a need and improve lives. Having the best product is not good enough unless people know it exists, it’s the best and realize it can improve their lives. This is why you have to be a great leadership marketer. In fact, I believe you have a responsibility to do this, especially if you have a truly awesome offering.

Now if you don’t care about your customers, then all of this means nothing. In fact, if you don’t care about them you should stop reading this post. Shoot, I’m sure Chris will back me in that you should stop reading this blog altogether because everything shared here is meant to make you a better entrepreneur, so you can improve and change lives.

You must take the leadership role on behalf of your customers. You must work tirelessly to get them to understand the value of doing business with you. You must lead them. Sure, it is a lot of responsibility. And it may not be what you signed up for as an entrepreneur. But it’s worth it, and I believe it’s key to achieving entrepreneurial freedom.

Operating your business from a position of leadership will fill you with the passion and fight to do whatever it takes to ensure lives are changed by what you offer. The leadership marketer stops at nothing less.

Question: How are you leading your customers?

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  • domerskee

    @joelfortner:disqus Great post. Just now getting caught up on some reading. This is extremely important in my line of work. If I do not lead my customers well they will not get the message in regards to safety and security issues. That’s the stuff that keeps me awake at night. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Domerskee

    @joelfortner:disqus Great post. Just now getting caught up on some reading. This is extremely important in my line of work. If I do not lead my customers well they will not get the message in regards to safety and security issues. That’s the stuff that keeps me awake at night. Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Absolutely!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    True Joel! It takes a great deal to educate our audit clients. They are scared of internal auditors. They are reluctant to share the information and see the auditors as some ‘policemen’, It took considerable time to make them aware of the value addition of internal audit. And, its worth the effort now.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Well up the trust fight!

  • http://bestoked.blogspot.com Luke Stokes

    Great post, Joel. That’s why we love working with you as a consultant (did that sound like a plug? I hope so, because Joel is fantastic to work with).

    It’s all about serving the customer in a way that truly does change lives. Love it.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Thanks, Luke. That was really nice.

  • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

    Great info here, Joel. Although I’m not running a business at this point, I think of my blog (and writing) as such. I feel like my content is my product, and to that end, I agree that passion and constantly striving to change lives by what I have to offer is key.

    As far as my “day job” goes, my passion towards what I do in the medical field only stands to make an otherwise unpleasant experience a pleasant one for the patient. (Remember, no one WANTS to be in the Emergency Room on a Saturday night!)

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      That’s a great outlook, my friend.

  • http://caroldublin.com/ Carol Dublin

    Great post Joel. I hadn’t thought of it this way, but it makes sense. In bookselling, you led your customers by your book displays. In the nonprofit world, I can lead our donors (whether they are giving money or goods) by sharing stories of our impact and how much more we could do… Thanks for the insight.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Thanks, Carol. This is especially relevant in your world!

  • kevinschumm

    In as few words as possible this was awesome! Ever since returning from Entreleadership, this is what I have been trying to do not only with clients but everyone I interact with during the day. The product I am working on now is, me, “a better self” so I can give more. The product and service I am selling is only as good as the client I believe in.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      “The product and service I am selling is only as good as the client I believe in.” BOOM! Love this! I’m stealing this. =)

  • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

    Great post, Joel! And one that resonates deep in my heart. Because the majority of my clients are active duty military, it is extremely important to me that I and my team communicate effectively with them – not only the details of their mortgage loan – but how passionate we are about serving those who serve – and showing them through our ACTIONS – not just having a catchy slogan – but having “boots on the ground” to serve.

    It means having a system in place to close a loan faster than anyone else – not because we just like speed. But because a soldier just back from Afghanistan might be sitting in a hotel room with his wife, two kids and a dog, needing a place to lay his head at night. He needs a place he can call home. And we need to move fast. Stay late, work week-ends, do whatever it takes until this soldier has a home. Commitment is what it takes to truly serve – and to bring value to the client.

    It also means having a charitable giving plan in place a way to give back to the wounded warriors – the ones who might not can afford to purchase a home because they are injured and on disability.

    For me – it is about sharing with our clients not just what we do – but who we are. Our heart.

    Thanks again for a terrific post.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Love this! This is exactly what I’m talking about. You’re a great example of this, as is Dale, who commented below. She’s a certified Dave Ramsey counselor. We chatted recently about how she serves her clients and essentially she acts as their momentum, cares even more than they do about improving and hold them accountable. It’s beautiful stuff.

      • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

        Joel – love it! She cares more than they do!

  • http://www.janabotkin.net/ Jana Botkin

    Yesterday I visited a building to get a better idea of how to bid a mural. The marketing guy, my contact really want this mural to happen, but has to present it to the board of directors. I could tell that my job as a muralist is first to help him in every way possible, to provide him with answers to every question that the board might ask him. Even if I don’t get the job, I have helped him understand the mural process a little bit better. Is that “leadership marketing”?

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Absolutely, Jana! Leadership Marketing has many faces! This is a great one.

      • http://www.janabotkin.net/ Jana Botkin

        Hmmm, need to find a balance between giving away too much and being generous.

    • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

      We would like to see pictures of the mural, please.

      • http://www.janabotkin.net/ Jana Botkin

        Thanks, Lily and Louise – IF I get the job, it may be so all consuming that I go silent for months and months. Then, I’ll come back with a loud and visible splash so you all can see the mural. Trying not to count my chickens before they hatch. . .

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      I’m with Lily – pics please!

  • Dale Powers

    Joel and I have discussed this recently. As a “Dave Counselor,” there are times when I really have to be my clients’ motivation–when I have to care about their success more than they fear what is needed to succeed. If I can help them over their hump, then they win…which means that I win (and typically means their creditors also get a win). While there is truth in the expression, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” sometimes you CAN stick their noses in the pond to prime the pump! I care about my customers by really PULLING on those reins which, in the end, creates success for all parties.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Love this, Dale! I’ll never forget – “Be their momentum!”

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    Great message. Too many times people forget where they came from when they grow their company a bit. I mean that in terms of employees and customers. We have to be careful to not take either for granted. Great post!

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      True. It’s hard not to drift over time, which is why you have to be intentional about not forgetting.

  • http://bretwortman.com/ Bret Wortman

    Sounds suspiciously like what the best salespeople I’ve ever worked with do on a daily basis! I like the way you put this — leading your customers is a fantastic way of looking at it.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      I guess that’s why they’re the best!

  • http://www.joshuarivers.net/ Joshua Rivers

    I guess this is my last comment…I have to stop reading this blog now…I mean, caring about customers? Changing lives? What kind of business is that?

    Of course, I’m joking (Matt will probably motion to have me kicked out again :). Great stuff, Joel!

    It’s easy to just look at the bottom line and try to push out product, but we need to remember that every business is about people, not stuff. Also, to lead our customers to realize the greatness and importance of what we are selling, we have to first REALLY know it ourselves. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Thanks man. And you’re dead on. Every business is a PEOPLE business.

    • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

      Motion to…

      Just kidding :)

    • http://www.SevenPillarsOfSuccess.Net Louise Thaxton

      LOL, Joshua! But the truth is – your jest is someone else’s truth – “care about customers?” – and the answer is “NOT!”

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com/ Lily Kreitinger

    I’m thinking of something smart to post, but I can’t figure out how much smarter it can get. I love the way you explain the direct relationship between marketing and servant leadership. You’re not pushing a product, you’re serving people with your product. This is very helpful and timely. It will help me tremendously in serving my new client. Thanks for your awesome input. Burnt rice + burnt pancakes (ask Aaron about that!)!!!!

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Thanks, Lily! Glad it was useful!

  • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

    Never looked at it like that Joel.

    Hmmmm…processing…processing…

    • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

      Still processing?

      • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

        Actually yeah.

        I think the way you worded this:

        You must take the leadership role on behalf of your customers. You must work tirelessly to get them to understand the value of doing business with you.

        has the answer to one of my biggest problems right now. It’s just that I don’t see how it works just yet. I’ve never thought of it like that before.

        It’s a long story with one client so I can’t write it hear but the gist is that I have sold myself short I think.

        I’m not a perfect leader but I am so much better than I used to be and I can wrap my head around it all. This, however, has got my wheels spinning a bit.

        So…back to processing…

        • http://www.bluebridgecomm.com/ Joel Fortner

          Well if you have any questions I may be able to help with, let me know! Post here or email me joel@bluebridgecomm.com.

          • http://www.mattmcwilliams.com/ Matt McWilliams

            Will do Joel. Thanks for a great thought-provoker.