“How to Prevent ‘The Law of 250’ From Hurting Your Marketing”
I remember the first time I read about this “Law”. It was in the 1980’s and I was reading Joe Girard’s classic book, “How to Sell Anything to Anybody”. Girard was in the Guinness Book of World Records at the time for being “the world’s greatest salesman” due to the sheer volume of cars he sold at a dealership. As I recall, he would move an average of 6 a day off the lot. This particular chapter was titled, “Girard’s Law of 250”. It seemed like a magic number to him and, if you research this, it’s a number that is significant to us as a human species. Why? Because it’s a round number? Because it’s easy to remember? I will say that it’s a critical number in your marketing.
According to Pew Research’s ‘Millennials in Adulthood’ report – “Millennials are on Facebook, where their generation’s median friend count is 250.” It’s a number that has become a part of human nature in one way or another. But, what I’m talking about is how it applies to your customer and how it can work against you.
Gerard was talking about how every person he sold a car to had access to 250 other people who could be potential customers. And each of those 250 people had access to 250 more. It’s exponential—and it works both ways: both positive and negative. However, a negative sales experience is much more “viral” than a positive one.
Studies have repeatedly shown that a person who has a poor customer experience is twice as likely to tell people about it as opposed to a positive one. An inherent part of human nature? Maybe. Consider the concept of “Shadenfreude”. Miriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines this as, “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.” For some reason, people are inclined to lean to the negative when it comes to other people. I’ve always heard the phrase, “if you spot it, you got it!” meaning, what you see as a negative trait in another person is simply a reflection of something you see in yourself. People just love to tell other people about how they were “done wrong” in a store or with a business.
With this in mind, how can you prevent “Law of 250” from hurting your business ? Here are 3 ways:
Be acutely aware of your customer’s experience from the first point of contact. Whether you own a bricks and mortar business or practice or do your business completely online, be attuned to your customer’s experience and make everything easy for them. From website navigation to the ordering and fulfillment process if you’re an online business. If you have an office or store, from the moment the patient or customer walks in the door, make their experience pleasant and hassle-free.
Resolve ALL complaints in the shortest time possible. You’ve heard of “spin doctors” and people who are in charge of “damage control”? Why not try to prevent a customer complaint getting out of control before you need to engage people like these. By taking care of it promptly you can largely nip a problem in the bud and keep the customers trust. I don’t believe the customer is always right. But, I’ve learned to give them what they want anyway, within reason. It’s just good business.
Follow up with them. Do you know that if you send a thank-you note or acknowledgement of any kind, that you’ll put yourself miles ahead of the competition? Why? Because practically no one does this. Sure, there are businesses that will follow-up with an up-sell, discounted offer or other deal. But what I’m talking about here is a simple “thank you” to let the customer know you appreciate their business—with no other agenda. People today don’t like aggressive sales tactics, no matter what anybody says. A simple thank-you note or gift will do wonders for building customer trust and loyalty.
What can you do today to use “The Law of 250”?