by Yann Girard — Get free updates of new posts hereTweet
A couple of days ago I saw a picture on Facebook that seemed to have gone viral on the net.
There is no more B2B or B2C. It’s H2H: Human to Human.
It really struck my attention, as this sentence had something so profoundly right about it and the world we are currently living in. A world where people don’t want to purely base their buying decisions on the cheapest available solutions any longer, a world where people start caring about each other again, a world where people want to connect with each other, a world where the attention starts to shift back to the human being and away from pure income statements or profit & loss tables.
Commerce is no longer just about selling things; it’s about establishing a true connection. A connection that is based on some of the most important human values out there: trust, honesty and authenticity. Values that you can either buy with hard advertisement dollars or values that you and your team can live by every day.
One of the greatest examples for a company that fully embodies this philosophy was Apple. I am not quite sure what’s more popular: the brand name Apple or its human counterpart Steve Jobs. But what I know for sure is that Apple’s success is deeply intertwined with Steve Jobs, who was able to communicate on a very human level with almost everyone, be it customers, investors or reporters.
People didn’t simply buy products from Apple, they bought products from the regular looking guy that came on stage every once in a while and introduced revolutionary and game changing products that touched people’s hearts. Products that came from someone they were willing to trust, someone honest and very authentic. A human being that looked just like someone you wouldn’t mind having a beer with.
But what does all of this mean for us? It actually means two things, one thing we already know and another thing that is a bit more complicated:
1) Steve Jobs was a genius
2) We have to be more human
We all know that Steve Jobs was a genius and now we also know why: because he was a H2H wizard that was able to cast hundreds of spells on his customers without us ever noticing it.
Understanding how to be more human on the other hand when trying to sell products is a bit tougher. I wasn’t quite sure in the beginning when I read H2H what to think about it. I also wasn’t quite sure what it meant for me and how I could put it into practice.
So I thought about it for a little while, reflected about these last couple of months and I stumbled across an old post from last year that was called “About trust”.
In this post I was reflecting about how I realized the importance of a trustworthy relationship between a new company and potential customers. I also wrote about some things that can actually help us to start building a better relationship with prospects, business partners or investors that is based on trust.
The most important thing is visibility. People want to be able to relate and get to know the people behind a business, a product or an idea. So be ready to constantly show up and be willing to show your face over and over again.
Tell a story
The most compelling stories are the ones that are straight out of your daily life. Tell people how you increased you daily traffic, how you got more paying customers or even how you hooked up with this one girl, if this helps your case. Writing about your experiences and giving potential customers the chance to experience things first hand is a great way to start.
No one in this world is perfect, neither is your product, your idea or your company. So don’t try to be all cool and a smart ass knows it all kind of business. Ask your customers for advice, get in touch with them regularly, ask them for recommendations and feedback but most importantly make them feel special.
Be a leader
Believe it or not, but most people do want to be led. So go ahead and be the one who is willing to lead and make sure they can easily follow your advice. Lead them to good offers (not necessarily only yours), help them understand problems, show them solutions, support their decision making processes and most importantly give them the feeling that it’s their free will to follow you.
I guess at the end of the day we are all humans and there is absolutely no need to hide it. Trying to hide our flaws will in most cases result in a message that might sound fake, not authentic and lead to outcomes we don’t want and don’t need. Even the greatest products won’t find an audience without a certain kind of human connection to it.