January 11, 2016
It’s eleven days into 2016 and some of us are doing great with our resolutions. But for many of us, some are starting to drop off. I am not a big proponent of New Year’s Resolutions because I often find they don’t stick for long.
I prefer to look at planning “Must Dos” to achieve a goal or vision. I urge my clients to focus on the “Must Dos.” The other day, a client asked me “what do you think we should work on in 2016 to grow our business?”
I thought I would share with you my answer.
In a nutshell, I suggested the following 5 initiatives:
Today, we will look at initiative #1.
#1. Understand your customers, define what is important to them
Individuals and businesses do business and buy from companies that know and understand them. Ask yourself the following questions about your customer to put you on the track:
The answers to these questions will help you determine how to best serve the customer or prospect. With this understanding you can determine what led your customer to buy your particular product or service. It can also lead to what your competitive advantage is.
You also want to know who in the customer’s organization actually buys the product/ services; who makes the decision: who influences it; who can stop the decision to purchase? You also want to find out when is the best time for them to buy and why? For example is there a budget, year-end or event that would affect the timing of the decision? What steps do they take in the buying process?
To answer these questions and to fully understand the client, you need to talk to your client. The best way is face to face. If face-to-face is not possible, the next best is videoconference – I like Skype and Face time, telephone is next best. Your customer and those that have direct contact with them in your company need to engage directly.
When that takes place, your first priority should be to determine if your product or service fits with the customers needs. If it fits, great, if it does not fit, help them find a solution to their need, even if it is not something you and your organization offers. This is essential to building and strengthening customer trust.
Tomorrow I will post more detail about initiative #2 ‘Define what you are selling so that it identifies the value the customer receives.’