Every person likes to feel that they matter. Emotional validation is one of the key ways that any business can engage potential customers during a promotional event. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s discover what validation actually is.
Psychology Today defines it as “a recognition and acceptance of another person’s feelings, thoughts and behavior as something understandable.” It is the way we communicate our acceptance of ourselves and others.
Why Customer Validation is Important During Marketing Events
For event staff, customer validation is one skill they need to master. When an individual validates a person and accepts their opinions and emotions, he or she reinforces a connection. Research suggests that when event staff validate a potential customer’s opinion, it builds understanding and effective communication.
1. Customer validation is all about acceptance
According to Maslow, acceptance is a fundamental need. By fulfilling that need, your event staff will help potential customers open up to receiving brand messages and understanding how your product or service will benefit them.
2. Customer validation encourages choices and decisions
Marketing is all about showing brand value and encouraging people to consistently choose your brand over the alternatives. When you validate a person’s decisions, you encourage them to let go of their doubts and make the choice you want them to.
3. Customer validation helps manage emotions
Acknowledging a person’s emotions can go a long way in helping them see the value in your brand. When feelings and fears are acknowledged by another person, instantly there is a connection because of a shared understanding of what’s important. If the customer sees that your staff understand what motivates them, they will be more receptive.
4. Customer validation builds relationships
As mentioned before, validation builds understanding and communication. This builds relationships. With relationships come trust, which is extremely important in earning customer loyalty. When your staff validate a person, they create a relationship between that person and the brand.
5. Customer validation shows people they are important
When your event staff validate a person, that person feels important. This positive feeling will naturally extend towards your company as well, as event staff are the embodiment of your brand.
6. Customer validation helps with word of mouth
When you validate a customer’s emotions and build brand loyalty, often that individual will become your brand advocate. They will be more likely to share their event experience and recommend your product or service. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to market a brand, and it encompasses all manner of media.
Experts agree that getting out of the building, engaging customers face-to-face and validating their opinions will help grow your brand. It is no wonder that event marketing continues to grow in popularity.[Tweet “Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful ways to market a brand.”]
How To Teach Customer Validation to Your Event Staff
While it’s true that many people are skilled in validating others, it is a good practice to teach event staff the basic tenets of how to validate people properly. Here are seven tips to help you do just that.
1. Listen intently and react accordingly
People think that listening requires silence. In reality, most of your customers who have opinions would like some form of feedback from your event staff. When your staff say things like “I understand” or even just nod their heads when listening to a customer, this makes the customer feel validated. This fosters a two-way relationship, as opposed to staff simply staring intently (and sometimes awkwardly) at the customer.
2. Realize that validation does not require insincerity
Your event staff does not have to agree with everything the customer says. They do not have to lie in order to get the customer’s sympathy. Someone who is validating a person is doing just that – recognizing and accepting their position as a valid one. There is no need for insincerity. People are quick to catch on when someone is being phony. Validation is about acknowledging feelings. The staff member’s position is not important nor must it be shared.
3. Summarize to show understanding
A good technique to use when validating someone’s feelings is to sum up their statements. In the case of your event staff, have them summarize what the event attendee communicated to them. Reflecting your customer’s statements back to them shows that your event staff is paying attention and is taking note of what your brand can do for them.
4. Use body language in validation
The most basic thing that your event staff can do to validate a person is to have them stop what they are doing when a customer interacts with them. Have your staff turn their body towards the person and make eye contact.
5. Be patient
Remember that you are asking for a person’s time during a brand event. In order to acknowledge this, you should also give them your time. Staff should be patient with your customer’s questions and opinions. They should not rush them through the process nor show any impatience, even when the event is busy.
6. Show caring curiosity
Train your event staff to ask relevant follow-up questions. When you ask a customer the right questions, it validates their statements. It also helps keep the communication going, providing more chances to introduce the brand and speak directly to its value for that person.
7. Remember not to negate their feelings
Negating or belittling someone’s feelings is not a part of validation. If staff tell the customer “that’s the way it works” or saying one of their concerns “isn’t a big deal”, he or she may not feel it’s a big problem. But that small act invalidates someone’s opinion. If your brand offers a solution to their problems, your staff should be taught to state it. They should always show that they respect a customer’s opinions and feelings. They need to be skilled at offering a solution without being dismissive.[Tweet “Validate a person by showing that your interaction with them does have an impact. “]
In addition to building relationships with consumers, validation marketing also helps improve your own product or service. This is a good opportunity to gain important customer feedback and work to adapt to your customers’ needs and wants. The best way to validate a person is to show that your interaction with them has an impact on the way your business operates.
Customer validation shows people that your brand is listening. That high-quality interaction goes a long way in getting customers to, in turn, listen to you and learn about the great ways your company can benefit them.
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