A major responsibility as business owners (myself included) is that we need to continually understand the changing needs of our customers. We all try to always have a stronger understanding of what their problems are. Why do we do this? Because it’s our job to provide solutions to their problems! If we’re not in tune with those issues then we lose business to those that do a better job of understanding clients’ changing needs. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
What’s more challenging today is that we’re in an era of instant information and instant second opinions. With the internet and endless social media networks it doesn’t take long for a client to compare you (and your solutions) with others in your industry.
So, when my clients ask “What do I need to do to ensure that people continue to come to me for products and services,” this is what I tell them:
1 – Get in their head!
When was the last time you took a walk in your customers’ shoes and explored all of the options they are presented with? When was the last time you acted like a client of yours and did a search of available information to see if your company is the one that looks/sounds the best? Obviously this isn’t an obsessive task where you’ll constantly be watching what everyone else is doing. But…you do need to be aware of what others are doing so you can effectively stay ahead of the game and continue to provide the best possible solutions to your clients (and potential clients).
2 – Be your own WORST customer!
Have you ever been a “secret shopper” to your own company? Have you ever gone through the entire experience, from start to finish, that one of your customers goes through? Starting from the moment a customer finds your website/walks into your store ending with the follow up after a product and/or service is purchased…have you walked through that process? If you do, you might find that you need to challenge the way you’re currently doing things in order to add more value to your customers. If there is a bad experience throughout the process…it’s better that YOU experience that instead of a customer!
3 – Get in the trenches!
If you have a team that helps you with the sales/support process, it’s time to get in the trenches with them. Speak with your team and make sure the communication is consistent. Don’t bother with an “annual review” of the process. That does no good and it screams to your team “the owner doesn’t really care.” Learn what feedback is coming in from customers. Solicit feedback from your staff and find ways to improve the entire process. Remember, without customers you don’t have a business so you better be sure you know what’s happening in the trenches!
4 – Be a futurist!
How often within your company do you hear people (or even yourself) say “That’s the way we’ve always done it”? This is always the battle cry of someone unwilling to change which means they’re looking backwards, not forwards. Develop a forward-thinking culture with an environment that supports and encourages new ideas and to anticipate upcoming challenges. Learn how different markets are changing and identify how this might affect your client base. When you do, you can start making the changes today to be ready for the challenges of tomorrow. Always be thinking and planning ahead!
5 – Talk the talk!
Never be afraid to speak directly to your customers and solicit their feedback and opinions. Their honest feedback to you will do wonders for your business in the long run so never shy away from a potentially difficult conversation. At the end of the day, you want to offer the best products or services. If you’re not asking for feedback and opinions then you’re not ready to grow. Besides…you might be pleasantly surprised by how valuable this exercise is for the long-term success of your business!
So…if you’re not doing these five steps already then it’s time to start walking and talking with your customers. If you want to see a MASSIVE shift in your business, these 5 steps will certainly put you on the right track…so get started today!!
Go to the NEXT level in your business!
It’s one thing to understand your business and how it “should” work…it’s another to effectively put that into practice.
My Awareness 2 Engagement 90 day Private Mentoring Program helps you carve out and gain clarity around your target markets, helps you implement out of the box engagement (marketing) strategies to attract new clients, secure repeat business and create a plan that has your clients recommending your products and services to others!
2014 is fast approaching and now is the perfect time to start your 90 day plan to achieve the results you deserve! Email me today at email@example.com to start the conversation.