Don't Worry About Growing Your Audience and Spoil Your Existing Readers Instead
A lesson in retention courtesy of the world's greatest car salesperson
In the book, “Influence,” author Robert Cialdini tells the story of Joe Girard: a car salesman who sold on average five cars a day during his career landing him the top spot in the “Guinness Book of World Records.”
Eager to learn how Joe was able to stand out, Cialdini studied Joe’s process and what he found was a simple man with an even simpler system.
First of all, Cialdini learned that Joe was fair. He never tried to hit anyone over the head with a purchase, nor did he try to push someone into a decision they weren’t comfortable making.
Secondly, Cialdini observed that every month — no matter what he had going on and no matter how much his network grew — Joe would sit down and write a personalized handwritten letter to each one of his clients.
He addressed his client’s children by name. He congratulated them on any successes they achieved. He followed up regarding any hardship they encountered. He never stopped thanking them for choosing to trust him and allowing him to be part of their lives.
In short, Joe made his business personal.
As a result, his clients not only came back to him time and time again, but whenever anyone they knew needed a new car, they’d say, “You gotta go down and talk to my friend Joe! He’s a good guy! He’ll treat you well!”
That’s how you grow your audience.
You find your little piece of the land, plant your flag, and consistently put in the work to ensure every single person that comes grazing stays well-fed.
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The road to 1,000 true fans is paved with 1,000 thank you’s
We’ve all been encouraged to find our “1,000 true fans” — the phrase made famous by Kevin Kelly that marks the number of supporters we need to turn our dreams into gorgeous income streams.
“Pump out content!” we’re told. “Be everywhere!”
But maybe reaching that number isn’t all that complicated. Maybe it’s quite simple. The “Joe’s” of the world make a pretty convincing argument that the road to gaining 1,000 true fans looks a helluva lot like consistently saying thank-you.
Make a commitment to sit down and write one handwritten message a week to a long-time reader.
Ask people who support you to get on a phone call from time to time so you can learn more about them.
Reserve five minutes a day to say thank you to people who support you.
We’re talking about an hour or two maximum a week. You’ll still have plenty of time for yourself. But you may find these “little-big” actions are so effective in growing your audience that you begin to do them more often.
Growing up my parents consistently warned me to never let chasing new people take precedence over taking care of the people I already had in my life. They may have been talking about how to successfully maintain friendships but the same rule applies when it comes to growing your audience.
People love to say content is king. But it’s not. It’s always been caring and it always will be.
One conversation at a time.
One “Thank You” at a time.
One “I see you” at a time.
Attention is given to those who give it.
Nothing compounds faster than consistent acts of thoughtfulness.
The future belongs to those who focus on the people in front of them instead of getting wrapped up in trying to attract everyone around them.
Thank you for reading