Monday, November 21, 2011

Fan Friendly

I wore fur (faux of course!) to a Nascar race.
That's beside the point.

Have you been to a Nascar race?
Have you had a pit pass?
Hot or cold?

A few weeks ago, I was able to attend the Bank of America 500 race in Concord, North Carolina with a hot pass (THANK YOU Red Bull Racing and Brian Vickers!) and it was amazing. I never thought I would associate the word amazing with Nascar, but there is really no other way to explain the experience of a race - in the pits. Well maybe you could say exhilarating, loud, hot, entertaining, or friendly, OVERLY friendly.

That's right. Nascar is overly friendly. Not driver-to-driver (no, they want to leave skid marks on each other) but driver/race team to fan = overly friendly.

What does it take to be overly fan friendly?
It boils down to one KEY trait: Accessibility.

As I was walking out of the racetrack, I thought to myself (literally) that Nascar was the most fan friendly sport I have been to. And I have been to professional football, basketball, hockey, tennis, wrestling, wait - not wrestling, and baseball events. And while they are all great events, none of them top the fan friendliness of a hot pass for Nascar. The accessibility that a hot pass allows is to let a fan to be down in the pits through the entire race, to stand by the spare tires they so feverishly change during the pit stops. I touched the tires. I stood alongside the pit crew, the staff, and the girlfriend(s), as I watched in amazement at how, to them, a fan was a friend. There were no looks of annoyance, only looks of smiles and acceptance, allowing me to feel like I belonged, where so clearly, I did not. Duh - I do not know how to change tires!

How much access do you allow your fans (this would be your customers)?
How close do you let them get to the inter-workings of your business?
Do you let them revel in your success?
Do you allow them the right to look behind the curtain?
Are you fan friendly or fan unfavorable?

What does being accessible allow your customers to feel?

1. Important. When you allow your customers access to the inner workings of your business, it allows them to feel most important. It makes them feel trusted. And when a customer feels important and trusted by the people and business where they spend their money, they are going to spend more. They are going to remain loyal. They are going to tell others. Just like I did.

2. Connected. I felt connected, like I was part of the team, by simply being allowed to watch them work. How often do you allow your customers to see how your company works? Do you allow them to see you at your best? When you do, they feel connected to your business. Connection is nearly as important as feeling important, when a customer feels connected, or a connection, they will want to share this connection with others. What are you doing to connect with your customers?

3. Amazed. Amazement is often lost in the world these days. The only people who have amazement in their life on a regular basis are children. Why shouldn't you and your customers feel this way? Now, while your company may not be as exciting and amazing as watching a ten second pit stop, I bet there is something that you are doing that is amazing and exciting, why wouldn't you allow your customers in on it?

Isn't this how you want all of your fans to feel? Important? Connected? Amazed?

So, begin taking steps to be more fan friendly for your customers. They will more than appreciate it - they will be a fan for life, your fan for life.

Want to see a picture of me at the race (fur and all)? Visit my Sales Barista Facebook Page.

I'm your Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista. How may I help you help yourself?

Stephanie Melish, one of the few, hand-selected, Gitomer-Certified Speakers is the ONLY Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista in the world! Stephanie trains, sells, and speaks to companies and associations all over the country. To book Stephanie for your next event, please visit or contact the friendly folks at Buy Gitomer via email or by calling 704-333-1112.


  1. Well said and a great example to share with small business from a different persepective!

  2. Excellent post. I want to be very accessible and real with my clients. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. You were given a special pass to have access to the Hot Pits in NASCAR. If you want real fan access you need to attend a NHRA event. I have never seen a sport more fan friendly. With your ticket into the race you are given access to the pits and the teams and the drivers. A fan can stand literally feet away as the team feverishly prepares the cars for the next run. I have a friend who is a huge fan. She was diagnosed with cancer. Her husband told one of the drivers it was like hitting the hot line. She received phone calls, cards, and flowers from many of the teams and drivers. That is Fan Friendly. Oh, and my friend is now cancer free. Can't say it's due to NHRA, but the support sure didn't hurt.

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