One of my favorite films of all time is Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life.”
This classic 1946 film depicts a seemingly ordinary man, George Bailey, as he attempts to live a “bigger life.”
His dream was to travel the world.
But instead, he got roped into taking care of his father’s business in a small town he desperately wanted to escape.
I always get inspiration from this film and see something new each time I watch it.
During my last viewing, it struck me that the film’s villain, Mr. Potter, chased what many people still pursue today: To be thought of as a Big Deal.
Yet no one liked Potter. In fact, they loathed him.
Even though Potter was the richest man in town, he didn’t have anyone who really loved him. No one cared about him.
George was loved.
And although George didn’t have a lot of money, his kindness and compassion made him a town favorite. Plus he was the only one who kept Mr. Potter from monopolizing the housing market.
So basically Potter thought he was a Big Deal (but wasn’t) and George didn’t think he was a Big Deal – but was.
It took some divine intervention to show George how vitally important he was, not only to his own family and friends but beyond… to people he hadn’t even met.
How Did George Get More Clients?
George Bailey had a knack for connecting with people.
He made them feel special. Important. Valued.
It makes me wonder how often businesses pursue this as a goal.
How often does a business make their customer or client feel special, important, and valued?
Instead, the majority of businesses focus on their service offerings first and very little attention is paid to the prospective buyer. And they expect to get more clients with this approach.
There’s a scene in “It’s A Wonderful Life” that illustrates what I’ll now refer to as “The Bailey Way.”
George just married his sweetheart, Mary. They’re about ready to embark upon their honeymoon and have plenty of money to spend.
However, while traveling to their point of departure, the cab driver notices that a crowd is gathered outside the Bailey Brothers Building and Loan.
The cab driver, Ernie, worriedly says, “Don’t look now but there’s something funny going on over there at the bank, George. I’ve never really seen one but that’s got all the earmarks of being a run.”
Sure enough, the crowd is in a panic. They’re afraid that their deposited money is gone and they won’t be able to withdraw it.
Now think about this scenario a little bit with your business eyes…
How to Calm a Stressed-Out, Panicked Person
If George ran his business like many of today’s businesses,
he could have said something like this to Ernie:
“I have people to deal with that. Get us to the train!”
“Hmm. Interesting. The customer care service looks like it’s going to have a busy day…”
“Well, I guess I have to do something. Wait here.”
All of those responses would have been minimizing the impact fear has on people. It also would have grossly underestimated the proper response time for such a crowd.
Instead, George and his new bride entered the fray with genuine concern and compassion. George immediately tried to calm down the panicked crowd. He used logic and reason but quickly realized that wasn’t having a positive effect.
Finally, his smart new wife pointed out they had some money to give. They treated each person with dignity and carefully worked out a solution that was tailored to their need. Everyone left satisfied and the Bailey Building and Loan even had a small amount of money left over.
George Bailey in that moment faced a ferocious, raging fire—and came out of it alive. Later in the film, when his need was great, all of that goodwill was returned to him tenfold.
That is one of the best gifts you could ever receive from your customers.
The Bailey Way to Get More Clients
How many companies show the customer that they truly care?
How many businesses go the extra mile to ensure their customers and clients are completely satisfied?
In fact, the opportunities are amazingly abundant to leave your competitors in the dust while you wear the hero’s crown—respectfully placed upon your head by your grateful customers.
These lessons aren’t new.
And they’re not as sexy as the latest funnel/software/AI/automation tools appear to be.
Instead, these are proven, time-tested strategies to connect consistently with people and make a difference in their lives.
Truly caring about your customer and client is “the silver bullet.”
Showing them you care is one of the most powerful marketing strategies you could employ.
Over the past few decades, I’ve noticed a troubling development.
More businesses have become deaf to the concerns of their customers. It’s truly mind-boggling.
In a world filled with hungry, lean startups that are willing to do whatever it takes to get customers and clients, you’d think the larger businesses would recognize the threat.
You’d think they’d work hard, just like George Bailey, to impress their customers and make sure they were satisfied with their products and services.
However, we live in an alternate universe, it would seem, where Thanos snapped his fingers and half of the world’s caring businesses disappeared.
But you’re smarter than that, right?
You know customers can choose another business instead of yours, right?
If so, put into motion “The Bailey Way” and perfect it like George.
Never, ever take your customer for granted. It only leads to the poorhouse.