Treating Customers Like Partners and Friends

Software customers are not inanimate just because you don’t see their faces

We are all tempted to treat a customer like a transaction. They give us money for products or services we offer them. We’re a vendor or service provider, so they’re an invoice. We meet their needs, they pay our bills. It’s basic economics, right? They consume, we get paid, and then we take our money to consume stuff from others. In this model we’re all just consumers, but living this way in a vacuum apart from relationship is empty and often a short-sighted way of building a business.

Let’s be honest, this is true in any relationship.

From a basic financial perspective all customers offer something really valuable to our business, not just money. Our best customers offer loyalty, word-of-mouth marketing, and a sense of satisfaction in our work. Even better, customers can become real partners in your success and even friends.

Face-to-face sales and business development pushes most people toward a relational approach, but digital sales and marketing can easily lead us to forgetting the human side of that “customer”.

Here are a few ways to remember the human side of marketing when promoting your software:


Empathize with their pain.

Features and benefits are good but not as good as deeply knowing a customer’s problem and joining them in their frustration.

Sell by not selling.

Stop trying to sell something and start being helpful. It’s amazing how your product or service will become magnetic when you treat them like a person and not a sale.

Earn their trust.

Don’t assume a customer is ready to buy just because you have a sexy homepage and infographics. Give something valuable away before asking your customer to take a big risk on you.

Put the customer in the driver seat.

Imagine you’re 15 again with your temporary permit. Yeah, that’s your customer. Remember the power and overwhelming anxiety you felt? Now you’re the driver’s ed instructor you wish you always had. Go!

Good customer support is good sales.

Just because you closed the deal, collected your monthly or annual subscription fee doesn’t mean the sale is over. That one customer can easily turn into 10 new customers because they felt valued at every level of their experience with your company. Be careful, because the opposite is true too.

Mindbox Studios is a face-to-face service so it’s imperative we treat our customers like humans, but most of our clients are building custom software for people they will likely never meet. It takes imagination and discipline to remember you are ultimately building your company to solve a problem for a real person, and it pays big dividends when you take the right approach when selling to people.

You may also be interested in reading Business Development Is Like Breaking A Horse.

About the author

has helped launch well over 100 companies with founders all over the country from dozens of industries. He started his journey in technology as a visual designer for web, but it was the art of building great internet companies that attracted him refine his craft. Joshua and his wife, Rebekah, have four beautiful daughters and live in Redding, California.

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