Brand Yourself First: Create a Customer ‘Crack Addiction’

I’ve been toying with the idea that in order to be successful in business, you have to create a loyal following that goes beyond “customer satisfaction” and even a bit past “customer loyalty”.

I call it “customer crack addiction”.

Now, I mean this in the nicest possible way, with no offense to any crackheads that might be reading.

I examined other possible ideas and concepts. I’ve read Jeffrey Gitomer’s book, “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless”, and I agree with so much of what he writes.

At one point he draws the comparison to a marriage. Would you want your spouse to be “satisfied” or “loyal”?

Great analogy. But I think there’s another level that every business would love to attain: “Addicted”

In my mind, I want my spouse to be addicted to me. He can’t get enough of me. Would do anything to be close to me. He would stay up nights thinking of ways to be around me more frequently. In short, his world would revolve around me. It borders on an unhealthy obsession, but only borders on it. We do, after all, want our clients to keep their sanity, lest they be seen as crackpots instead of crack heads.

The Bible tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. In my mind, that means be willing to die for me. To lay down his life in order to save me. Periodically, I ask my husband if he’s willing to take a bullet, or give up a kidney for me.

I’m still working on getting him “trained”.

As business professionals, we all want to have that handful of clients that raves about us to everyone they meet, can’t say enough good things about us, and can’t wait for our next product or service to be unveiled. These “crack heads” lead the charge for us, investing in and putting to use everything we bring to market. They are not just our most loyal customers, they are our evangelists.

In business, you can create an addiction to your products and services. It’s not hard, but it takes a certain amount of work and investment on your part. Before we walk that road, let’s look at what happens with real crack addicts to draw our analogy.

Crack/Cocaine is a nervous system stimulant. It affects the brain, and leaves you in a temporary state of euphoria. Essentially, you feel SO GOOD while you’re “high” on the drug that you lose touch with the problems and issues of your reality. Tony Robbins explains in his Personal Power series that basically, you are feeling immense pleasure and absolutely no pain while you are under the influence of the drug. You have no inhibitions, no fears, no doubts, worries. Nothing negative exists in this world.

NO WONDER people become drug addicts!

And how does the pusher work?

He gives you a taste for free. You might remember the commercials that ran in the late 80’s/early 90’s with the kid who was just supposed to give the ‘stuff’ away. Then when his friends came back – “THAT’S When I start charging?” said the kid.

So it would seem simple to say that the solution to creating a customer crack addiction is to give away free samples of our “stuff” and charge returning customers a premium for the full package. However, a piece of the equation would still be missing.

The key to crack’s effectiveness is it’s potency. There’s a difference between baking soda and cocaine. Both look very similar, but have entirely different effects. You can see this in business every day with knock-off clones of products stocking shelves in every store. Many are very similar, but in the end, cheap imitations, when compared to the higher priced original.

In the online marketing world, there are thousands upon thousands of ‘freebies’ that are given away every single day online. For nothing more than your name and email address you can get access to free ezines, special reports, a tip of the week, etc. For a while, this was an effective ploy. But for most people, an immunity is being built to the regular fare that’s been posted, hashed and re-hashed in the marketing world. It’s one of the reasons why so many marketers have resorted to adding bonus after bonus to their high priced coaching and product offers. We need to keep doing more and more to attract and keep customer focus.

Unless they are addicts.

In this evolving economy, if you you want business for decades to come, you want to create a crack addiction with your customers. You want them to be so excited about the products and services that you offer that they don’t blink an eye about opening their wallet to “get the goods” from you.

And like a drug addiction, you’re not paying big coin for baking soda or powdered sugar. You need to create a powerful, mind expanding, state altering product. Once they’ve tried it, they’ll never go back to the way they were. It’s not possible without major intervention. Your customers will have changed in their very core.

Then, give them a sample strong enough to get them hooked. Newsletters alone don’t cut it any more. And repurposed content better be powerful and hard to find. Savvy customers are taking the time to research and save their pennies now more than ever. If they can find your content somewhere else for free, they will.

And there goes your crack addiction.

Now is the time for quality and quantity. In days past, it was acceptable to burn a CD with poor audio quality and photocopy a couple of pages of notebook scribbles and sell it for thousands of dollars. Not any more. Packaging, presentation, and quality are all part of the equation now. Your product or service not only has to be full of solid content, it has to be presented in such a way that people are proud to own it. At the very least, re-type your photocopies into a legible format, and move away from the inkjet printer CD labels. First impressions go a long way in business. Think of yourself for a moment as the “pusher” – who always arrives in style, well presented, and ready to do business. the same must be true of you and your products/services.

Make sure your product is potent and effective. Make sure it does exactly what it says. Better yet, make sure that it’s better than described. People are pleasantly surprised when a product outperforms it’s advertising – and they will rave about it.

Don’t be afraid to give it away to the right people. If you find someone that you know can absolutely benefit from what you have to offer, don’t be afraid to share it with them at no charge. They’ll feel indebted to you and psychologically obligated to share the greatness of your offering with the world. And reward them for their referrals. Keep your addicts clinging to you for their “fix” and you’ll earn a customer base that goes beyond loyalty.

Start your own customer crack addiction by examining your offerings. What can you improve or modify to make even more impressive? Start with simple changes that make a big impact. Sometimes those minor adjustments can make a big pricing difference because of your audience’s perception of value. Create massive value, then give a sample away.

Then watch your addicts flock to you.

The Science of Addiction

The form of the drug habit envisions dependence as a end result of a course of action in which various items combine to direct drug-using behavior and the deficiency of adaptability regarding the will to use a particular drug. Even though the effects of a given drug are important, it would be foolish to assume that everyone who is addicted to the same drug goes through similar experiences or has similar motivations. Also, different elements may carry different weights during the various stages of development of drug addiction.

Three factors are important In the beginning. These include if the drug is easily accessible, if its accepted socially and whether the person is surrounded by friends who are using it.

There are 7 billion souls on the planet, each of which has a different personality and biological make-up. This means that everyone experiences a given drug differently and the way the brain responds to repeated drug use is different in every body. The pharmacological properties of the drug being used is vital. This may mean the difference between using and being addicted, whether the drug will cause side effects, and how successfully one can recover from the addiction.

According to many scientists,the difference between voluntary drug use and compulsive addiction boils down to alterations in the anatomy and biochemistry of the drug addict. Scientific data is accumulating steadily which confirms this belief. Alas, it remains unknown if these changes are mandatory and ample to explain the addictive habits. Others argue against such a simplistic model. They say that the resourcefulness of drug addicts to change their addictive conduct in reply to rewards or punishments shows that the form of addiction is complicated requiring interplay of diverse ingredients.

These can include pressing social and psychological circumstances in addition to distant events which happened in the past.

Drug use starts a chain reaction which can either reward or punish and which can be learned resulting in high or low probability that the drug using actions will be repeated. The consumption of some drugs also starts the biological actions affiliated with tolerance, addictions and sensitization. Subsequently, tolerance (larger doses required to achieve the same effect) decreases some of the negative effects the drug. This in turn allows the use of greater doses, which can precipitate the progression to physical dependence. Avoiding the very unpleasant withdrawal associated with most of the addicting drugs then becomes a driving force promoting more drug use. Increased (sensitized) drug craving when environmental stimuli associated with drug taking, or drug cues, are encountered. This increases the risk of relapse in addicts attempting to quit.