Your first & most important customer is YOU

I could almost feel the love, respect and positive energy that was emanating from their words when they wrote to me about why they loved working there. Yes, I knew they were happy. After all, they’d been working there for decades. But I never realized how much respect they felt for the product they were selling.

These women worked in our call center. But when they picked up the phone, they weren’t just selling a product. They were selling a better way of living. They knew that the product they offered undoubtedly changed their customers’ lives.

I didn’t always understand that this knowing, this internal feeling of respect and love for your own products and for your own work makes people buy and remain loyal to you.

In fact, I’ve come to learn that people don’t even buy your products per se. They buy how you feel.

That’s why, to get loyal customers, there’s one customer you have to satisfy first and foremost: you.

Your first & most important customer is YOU.

When your first and most important customer is you, you first look to make yourself feel proud, in love, passionate, enthusiastic, at peace and fully satisfied with what you’ve created. You don’t first look to get your customers’ approval. You first look within yourself.

Kurt Vonnegut said something once that’s been vastly misunderstood: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”

This quote has been misinterpreted to mean that you should create with one ideal reader/customer in mind. In the business world, every marketer, everywhere, will teach you to create an ideal customer persona and then, to create your products and marketing to please that one person.

But, what I’ve learned is that...

The only customer you ever have to please is YOU.

Can you even imagine Kurt Vonnegut sitting there trying to come up with words that would please some reader, somewhere? Can you even imagine other great people sitting there thinking of creating something to please some other person? The Leonardo da Vincis, the Beethovens, the writers you admire, the leaders and the business people you admire just as much, the people who are changing our world? I don’t know about you, but I for one, can’t even fathom the thought that these people create products and ideas to please an ideal customer.

Instead, these people heard a calling from within and then they did everything in their power to let that calling take the shape and form of something they could share with others. Instead, they created something that makes them (not others) feel proud.

The companies that I’ve seen that had customers stampede to buy their products had one thing in common….they were run by employees who had love and passion for their own products pulsating through them. They were obsessed with their products. You could feel it. Their passion was so real that I could almost touch it and taste it. I’m not just referring to the founder or CEO, I’m referring to all employees, from executives to interns (rest assured that in these companies, the people without passion for the product eventually leave, by their own choice).

Your customers are not just buying your product, they’re buying your love for your product. They’re buying your passion and they’re buying the process through which you create what you love.

Make yourself your best customer. Feel your way into becoming your best customer. Feel your way into your product, work and business. Feel your own passion.

Why doesn’t everyone feel this way?

I’m glad you asked. I want everyone to feel this way. Don’t you? Think how joyful it is to buy a product made with love versus a product made with lovelessness. Think of how much fuller and bigger and more abundant our world would be if every single idea, product and service out there was created from sincere love.

The reason why not everyone feels this way is because we’ve never been taught that this is an important component to business and to meaningful work. Instead, we’re taught to create charts and market analysis, to identify gaps and then to rationally try to fill them.

But business starts with love.

We’ve been taught to satisfy the masses, when in fact the masses are satisfied when we create work that satisfies ourselves.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe that you need to apply intelligence, analysis and the right methodologies to grow your business. But I don’t believe that’s where you should start.

I believe you should start with how you feel about your product and work. Start with feeling proud by your own work, and only then apply the right marketing strategies. Start with feeling respect and dedication for your own work - no matter what you do or sell.

Then, just watch how others will stampede to buy your products. I’ll be over there, in the crowd, begging you to take my money.

Mihaela Akers