I was listening to Brian Chesky, founder of Airbnb the other day, and he related advice he got from Paul Graham (Y Combinator):
“It’s better to have 100 customers who LOVE you than a million who kinda like you.”
According to Chesky, this was a turning point for their business which had a painful LOOOONG start, riddled with failure and struggle.
Rather than having an abstract, seemingly infinite, impossible goal…all of a sudden the goal is finite. “I can do that,” he said.
So he started doing things that don’t scale.
For example, if somebody listed their property on Airbnb, he and his co-founder flew out to visit. They’d stay the night, pay for the experience, and write their first review.
If the place was nicer than the photos suggested, he’d offer to hook up the host with a professional photographer. Which, surprise, surprise, was actually himself, the CEO of the business.
What happened as a result of doing things that don’t scale is he created a fiercely loyal customer-base who continued to use the service…and to tell everyone who’d listen, in effect doing all AirBnB’s marketing for them. Plus, Chesky got to experience his product first-hand from the perspectives of both the host and the guest because he immersed himself in it. In turn, this gave him insight into what the business could improve.
Doing things that don’t scale is a beautiful bit of advice.
I’ve always done this at YaghiLabs, intuitively, without knowing how valuable it was.
i often asked myself if it was worth the effort.
For instance, if somebody emails and asks a question, i usually take the time to answer it and then they usually buy. It’s awesome…but it’s ONE customer. And sometimes i think, if i have to do that for every sale…is it worth it?
I’ve offered support to the point that i might get on a call with someone, for free…a call, mind you, others pay me $1,000/hr to have…and i’d do it free to support someone i felt needed it. After having spent 2-3 hours talking to them, i’ve wondered. Was that a smart use of my time?
Indeed, most of my colleagues have all sorts of techniques to avoid talking to their customers and to “preserve” their time and keep its value high. I know people who, in this day and age, have a ritual of only answering emails one day per week. They’re impossible to get a hold of!
Others who put assistants and guards in between themselves and their customers just for the sake of positioning.
I’ve never done that kind of thing. I’ve always seen it as wrong.
And i’ve felt there was an intangible benefit in doing it my way, which i couldn’t put my finger on. But when i heard Chesky talking about it being the turning point in their business, i realised it’s time to double down.
See, over time, i’ve built a loyal following of people who’ve had personal interactions with me. They’ll tell me about conversations i don’t remember…times i’ve met them at conferences…advice i’ve given them over email…
…even times i’ve paid for a meal we shared.
And while i don’t always remember these experiences, people have remained loyal for YEARS because of them.
In our industry, everyone wants to look more successful than they really are. They’re obsessed with their positioning. They’re concerned that if they do unscalable things, it would make them and their business appear tiny and unsuccessful.
But if i’m honest, i’ve never once seen that reaction from my people.
They often show gratitude and honour when i reach out to help them. They’re like, OMG, the owner of YaghiLabs who must be so busy with all his work (which i am), he’s taking a step away to take care of lil ole me!
They’re grateful for it.
I doubt they even contemplate the possibility that perhaps things aren’t going well for this business, and maybe this isn’t the person to get my training from. I could be wrong. But hey, i’m a regular guy and i waste all kinds of time with pointless dinner guests and television shows. Giving some of my time to a potential customer isn’t just an investment…it’s a charity.
So don’t be afraid about your positioning.
A good customer will appreciate you caring about them and their experience with your products. You don’t look desperate to them…unless you’re doing it with ulterior motives, or if you’re approaching it transactionally.
Do it with an attitude of giving and caring and people will love you.
They’ll spread the word about your products and services. They’ll keep buying from you. And even if they don’t, they’ll be grateful and you’ll feel GOOD to know that what you’re doing is making a difference in people’s lives.
Doing things that don’t scale, adding the human touch, personally interacting with your customers gives you great insight into how you could improve your business. You learn what your customers’ pains really are. What problems you can help them solve with your products.
And THAT IS scalable.
But to build this loyal following and stellar reputation you need a way for people to find you, you need good products to sell, you need a way to communicate with your people, and you need a way to turn visitors into customers.
Inside the Super Traffic Machine, I’ll show you how to do all of this in step-by-step detail one step at a time. No glossing over anything.
Find out more here:
Don’t forget, i’m giving away THREE ridiculous extras this month if you join before March 31st. There’s an entire video course entitled, “The Sleeping Giant” which helps you build out the tech for a website that grows under traffic spikes instead of buckling and dying under the load. The second is a printed book course showing you how to do high volume email sending. And the third helps you get your business and all its necessary services for free, running in the cloud. All of this you get free in addition to the Super Traffic Machine.
There’s a dedicated page explaining this month’s extras at the page below: