No matter what, human beings must do business. In feudal societies and capitalist dictatorships; in flush times and depressions; in war and in peace; there will always be traders, sellers and buyers. Where there is a need (real or perceived), there will be a product or service available to provide some level of fulfillment. Someone always makes money.
The most successful sellers present the most compelling case, i.e. the strongest value proposition, for their product or service and they become market leaders. Maybe you’d like to position your business for that kind of success? There will be work involved, but nothing that is insurmountable. The process can be broken down into 5 manageable steps and implemented according to a timetable convenient for you.
Getting started is easy— ask your customers! They may know more about your business than you do. They certainly know the market place in which your business operates, because they navigate those waters as purchasers and consumers of the products and services offered therein. Your customers have done their homework and they have chosen you.
Above all, we must value our customers and communicate that to them. Big spenders, the VIP customers, deserve to receive the most value. Important customers can benefit a business in more ways than one. They are able to become our opinion leaders, our advisory board. These customers can play a key role in helping to grow the business. Understanding this is Step One. Next, demonstrate your trust and respect by implementing Step Two: interview the VIP customers.
Identify your three biggest billable hour clients and invite those with whom you interact the most out to eat at whatever meal you can afford to buy. Client priorities can change as their organization and business environment changes. Organizations will change in response to economic, leadership, competitive and consumer preference changes.
Stay on top of things by asking your VIPs what you can do to better serve them, help them to do business better or make their jobs easier. You can also ask what the competition is doing, what changes may be on the drawing board within their company, etc. You get the idea. You may even find out about new markets for your services.
If you can access your competitors’ customers, take them out to coffee, too and see what you can find out about that scene as well. What next big thing (or old school remix) is winning the hearts and wallets of customers?
Strengthen relationships, make important customers feel even more so, find new business opportunities, tweak your business model or your advertising choices and maybe even get your foot in the door with a competitor’s client. Talk less, listen more, take notes and be humble.
Next week, we’ll examine the remaining three steps that will help you to create a winning value proposition for your business.
Thanks for reading,