Jun 142017

People Will Never Forget How You Make Them Feel

As an entrepreneur, it’s important to remember that people will never forget how you make them feel.

The Maya Angelou quote goes like this: People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.

Apparently, the quote attributed to Maya Angelou is a close paraphrase of a quote attributed to Carl Beuhner many years earlier: They may forget what you said – but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Source: Wikiquote – https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Maya_Angelou

Regardless of which quote you want to look at and who said it, though, I think the idea is 100% on-point. People can forget a lot of things, but they cannot and will not forget how you make them feel.

So, how is this relevant as an entrepreneur?

Though the relevance of this idea extends to ALL people with whom you interact, here we will focus on how it impacts your relationship with the source of your revenues – your prospects and your customers.

Remember, humans typically make a purchase decision based on emotion and feelings, then later try to justify that decision with logic. So, how you make prospects feel has an impact right away, from the first time you interact with them. That initial interaction may be through an ad you place, the prospect coming into your place of business, or any of innumerable other potential interactions.

How do you make your prospective customers feel? What is the messaging that you put out on a consistent basis, or inconsistent basis, as the case may be? How do you want your business to be perceived by people who are thinking about doing business with you?

As discussed in another article, your marketing and sales efforts have to be focused on the needs of your clients, not on your needs or those of your business. Focus on the benefits, not the attributes of your product or service. Key in on how those benefits will make your prospect feel, should they decide to purchase from your company.

At the end of the day, it’s not even the benefits that are driving your prospects’ purchase decision; rather, it’s the prospects’ expectations about the feelings they will get from the benefits of what you offer.

Let’s look at a simple example.

You decide you want to buy a bicycle, so you head down to the local bike store. The salesperson is happy to help, of course, and proceeds to show you several bikes, priced from $250 to $1,100. The salesperson goes through all the features of the bikes, and if they’re smart, they also go through the benefits you’ll derive from each of the features mentioned. For example, this one has this type of better, lighter rims [feature], which means that with less effort, you’ll be able to go faster [benefit] than on this other, less expensive model.

The whole time the salesperson is speaking, what are you, the prospective customer, thinking?

Are you focused on all the great features and benefits of the bike models you’re hearing about? Probably not. Instead, you’re figuring out how this salesperson is making you feel. Does he or she really understand what you’re looking for? Do they care to provide you with what you’ve indicated you need, or are they just trying to figure out a way to sell you a more expensive bike? Will the cheaper bike they mentioned get the job done to get you the feelings you’re looking to achieve from your purchase – freedom away from thinking about the issues of your life, the joy of time doing something healthy with your family, exercise that will make you feel better, etc.?

You see, the whole internal dialogue you have during the sales presentation is all about feelings, not about features and benefits.

It is only after you’ve come up with satisfactory answers to these emotional questions in your mind that you will pull out your credit card and make a purchase from that salesperson at that bike store, for a particular model of bike that you think will get the job (creating the correct feelings) done.

The same idea applies not just to prospective customers, but also to existing customers. How they feel while at your establishment or otherwise doing business with you will have a major impact on whether they will become repeat customers, or will just be a one-time sale.

In other words, they will never forget how you make them feel.

Your job, therefore, from the time they are prospects to when they’ve already been customers for a period of time, is to have them walk away from all interactions with your company feeling good about how it went down.

They may not always agree with you or your company on everything, and from time to time, they’re bound to have experiences with your company that are sub-optimal, but they must always feel that you understand them, respect them, and are striving to serve their needs, not just optimize your profits.

Keep this in mind when you are creating your business, planning your products and services, developing your marketing strategy, selling to your prospects, and interacting with your existing customers:

They will never forget how you make them feel!

Use this to your advantage, by showing them that your focus is on their needs and have them walk away from each interaction with your company feeling like they’ve been treated well. It won’t always be perfect, but they must believe you’re trying to give them the feeling(s) they seek by doing business with you and your company.

I look forward to your thoughts and questions.


Paul Morin