Published this month, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions by Guy Kawasaki is the buzz of the business book world.  Here’s a speed summary of the charismatic VC’s (and former high profile Apple marketer) new take on why you should be seeking to enchant your customers by delivering delight (to create affinity, commitment and loyalty), and how to do it.

First off, what is enchantment?  To enchant is to do more than persuade, it is to delight, to seduce, and to inspire.  To persuade is rational and cerebral, to enchant is emotional and experiential – and in a world of information-overload and product clutter, it is the emotional and experiential that cuts through.  When you enchant, you create a smile  – and that smile becomes associated with who you are, what you do and why you do it. That smile is brand equity of the most valuable kind.

One part Dale Carnegie, one part Robert Cialdini, and one part Guy Kawasaki’s best bits, Enchantment is bigger than social commerce, but it’s relevant, because it’s about selling – selling with heart – and with social media. So here goes for 10 things you need to know about how to enchant your customers – and make happiness your business model.

  1. The first step of enchantment is to see the world from the customer’s perspective – it’s business 101 (and social intelligence); understand what it is exactly your customers want, and if you have what they want, understand if/how they can make the change to you, and whether making that change is worth their effort
  2. To enchant customers and to make them smile you need to be likeable, and that means genuinely respecting and admiring your customers.  Your customers should make you smile; as the Chinese proverb goes, if you don’t like smiling, don’t open a shop.
  3. To enchant customers, be trustworthy – that is, show yourself to be knowledgeable and competent.  Trust is one of the five key obstacles every sale faces – no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.  Take a leaf from Zappos’ book – help customers trust you with your actions rather than your words (money back guarantee – free shipping in both directions)
  4. To enchant customers, you need to make your product or service enchanting.  An enchanting product or service is DICEE
    • Deep – has multiple layers of value
    • Intelligent – solves problems in smart ways
    • Complete – offers a turnkey experience
    • Empowering – helps people do what they do better
    • Elegant – works with people, harnesses what they already think and do
  5. To enchant customers, be brief – respect people’s time and attention.  Few people have ever experienced a pitch or a presentation that is too short.
    • If it’s a presentation, stick to the 10:20:30 rule (10 slides max, 20 mins max, 30 point font minimum)
    • If it’s an email, limit it to six sentences (or adopt the apocryphal Microsoft policy, if it doesn’t fit in the subject line, it’s too long – so pick up the phone)
    • If it’s a video clip, keep it to 60 seconds
    • If it’s a report or business plan, 20 pages max
  6. To enchant customers, allow them to trial your product or service in a way that is Easy, Immediate, Inexpensive, Concrete (Demonstrates Results), Reversible (Risk-Free) – and if you are in the launch phase, implement a mass product seeding campaign designed to delight and activate advocacy
  7. To enchant customers, keep them enchanted.  Enduring Enchantment happens when your customers internalize your brand, your product and your values, and make them their own. The customer journey begins with conformity (complying with a request to purchase, evolves through ‘identification’ (it’s a brand/company for me) and matures to internalization (it’s my brand/company).  Enduring enchantment requires paying it forward; surprising and delighting your customers by giving – rather than taking.
  8. To enchant customers, remove the blocks to enchantmentInertia, Hesitation to reduce options, fear of making a mistake, lack of role models, having a cause that doesn’t connect.  Use social proof (the power of example, lists and ubiquity to show you’re a good choice), scarcity (that you offer a scarce (therefore, valuable) resource), stories (customer stories, and inside stories (behind the scenes) not stats), and superiority (show what you can do, that your competitors can’t)
  9. To enchant customers, use media intelligently
    • For ‘push media’ (bringing your story to people) email, Twitter, presentations), make it sensorial – one part text to two parts images, sound and video, make it short, and make it a story.  Personalise the introduction, and ensure that it’s useful, even if they don’t buy
    • For ‘pull media’ (bringing people to your story – websites, blogs, Facbook, YouTube), make it fast, make it free (no sign-up roadblocks, fan-gatign) and flash/Flash-free (no spin, no Adobe Flash).  And offer content that has ‘intrinsic value‘ (i.e…)
      • Inspirational Value
      • Entertainment Value
      • Enlightenment Value
      • Educational Value
  10. To enchant your customers, know that enchantment begins at home. Begin by enchanting your employees and your boss
    • To enchant employees – offer them MAPMastery, Autonomy and Purpose – not just a salary + bonus.
    • To enchant your boss – re-prioritise your efforts to make them successful; drop everything and do what they ask – make them look good