Customer lesson learned

Customer lesson learned from Nikki Sixx

  • United States

Author:  Brittany Hodak

I’m coming to you from 30,000 feet, on my way to join my friend Jeff Glover for the LiveUnreal Retreat in Traverse City, Michigan. I can’t wait to see some familiar faces and meet more amazing real estate agents after my Customer lesson learned.

You know when someone references how long ago something happened and you think, “That’s impossible!” because it feels like it JUST happened? That happened to me a few days ago when a friend of mine said next week will mark 15 (!!) years since Mötley Crüe rockstar Nikki Sixx released The Heroin Diaries Soundtrack album with his band Sixx:A.M. The album — and the book that inspired it — became instant favorites of mine, and working on the project (and a few fun Mötley projects!) is still a career highlight for me.

I like to say that everything is experience, and experience lessons can come from anywhere. Today’s story comes courtesy of Nikki Sixx, proving that it’s always possible to connect YOUR story with the stories of those around you.

Let’s rock!

The psychographics of fandom are the same across all demographics and verticals: we pay for things and experiences because of the way they make us feel.


Some people scoff when I tell them that the very same philosophies and strategies that beloved musicians and athletes use to cultivate loyal fans can be applied to any brand in any industry. “Who would be a superfan of their plumber?” I’m sometimes asked.


I don’t care if you’re selling paint or pipes or printers — you can absolutely make people care enough to become their category of one by providing superfan-level service. People might not have a poster of their plumber hanging up in their bedroom, but they will forever insist on calling you for any issue – and recommending that their friends do the same – if you make them care.


Care about them first, and then they’ll care about you, and whatever your “thing” is. Connecting your story to your customer’s story is a formula that works every time.


In the summer of 2008, I was working on a video campaign with rock legend Nikki Sixx. The production dates kept changing because we were waiting on our retail partner to approve the script. When we finally got the final sign off, it meant we’d need to film during the band’s Crüe Fest stops in Pennsylvania.


The only problem was that the tour stop was during the weekend my brother and niece, Hailey, were visiting me in New York City for the first time for Hailey’s birthday. She had been looking forward to the visit for months. There was no one else I could send to the shoot in my absence but, since my brother is a huge Mötley Crüe fan, he said, “Let’s all go to the festival — it will be fun!”


It was going to be a long day and, since management had generously hooked us up with all-access passes, I took my niece backstage to grab some catering. She was trying to wrap her mind around all the different chocolate cake options when Nikki Sixx walked into the tent.


He walked up and said, “Hi! I’m Nikki.” He noticed Hailey was wearing a High School Musical shirt and began asking her questions about the movie. He told her that his daughter loved Zac Efron, too. Then, he said, “You look like you’re about six years old.” It was a couple of days after her birthday, so her eyes lit up as she said, “How did you know?” He said, “Because my last name is Sixx. Did you know that? I can always tell when someone is six!”


The three of us sat down and talked for a while as my niece sampled all the different sweets. Nikki had no idea who we were (although I eventually told him I was there to film the commercials) — he just saw an opportunity to make guests in the Crüe Fest catering area feel welcomed and did so… with a personalized approach.


Every conversation presents the opportunity to make the person you’re talking to feel like the most important person in the world. Hailey raved to all her friends about Nikki Sixx not because of his fame, but because he held his own in a conversation filled with topics that mattered to my niece, including Disney Channel, Hannah Montana, and which dessert was the best one ever.

Customer lesson learned from Nikki Sixx

Bottom line: If you want your customers to love you, you’ve got to love them back. Period. Whether you’re speaking with a client, a friend, a colleague, or a customer, the quickest way to get someone to care about you and the things you care about is to demonstrate that you care about them.


After connecting with Nikki Sixx that day, Hailey became a lifelong Mötley Crüe fan and got to see them in concert in 2014!



 “When you help others feel important, you help yourself feel important too.”

 – David J. Schwartz


Article written by Brittany Hodak


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