09 Aug, 2012
The Secrets Of Being 100% Customer-Led – Richard Denny
There are enormous opportunities for business growth in the current climate and there is every reason to be positive about the future. The key to success is to adopt a positive mindset and to ensure that your business adapts to the needs of the modern market place.
Customers, like employees, do not leave companies – they leave people – when they are no longer fulfilling their wants and needs. So here are my ten steps to win more business and keep your customers happy.
1. Is your company fit for purpose?
Every business owner must make sure that their service is fit for purpose. You must continually make sure that your customers need or want what you have to sell. I meet many people whose approach is outdated and who are not adapting to the changing needs of the marketplace.
They are in love with things the way they are. We must continually reassess and ask ourselves, ‘Have we got the right product for 2012/2013?’ If not: change it, move it; do something completely different.
2. If you have a good product, don’t keep it a secret
Too few people are putting the required effort into proactive business networking. They keep their business venture secret by remaining invisible. It is no longer good enough to be good at what you do; you have to connect to your marketplace.
That means going to meetings, talking to people listening to what other people are doing; doing joint ventures and doing enough marketing and promotion to ensure that prospective customers are aware of your business.
3. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
When you want to attract new customers, always begin by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, especially when developing your website. Too many business owners focus on selling the company rather than emphasising the ways they will look after their clients.
Of course, you need to tell people who you are and what you do, but that in itself will not drive customers to your door. Your customers do not want to buy your company; they want to buy what your company does. They want to understand what the unique benefits are and what care you will offer them.
4. Make your website irresistible
Having a strong website is of crucial importance. It is your primary mode of exposure for attracting enquiries. For optimum impact, I recommend including a short video on your homepage.
On average, web browsers will spend no more than three seconds evaluating whether or not to explore your website; but if there is a video clip, they will click on it. It needn’t be long; 30 seconds is enough.
If you are uncomfortable talking to camera yourself, record a customer giving positive feedback instead; or record a two-way conversation. It is a valuable way to communicate the company benefits to your prospective customers.
5. Winning more business – where from?
Every business owner or entrepreneur should have a prospective customer list. These are the people we like to do business with, whether or not we do so already. Most business owners want more customers; but they do not make time to focus on their customer profile.
They become reactive rather than proactive in building their client base. If we know who our ideal customers are, where they are, what they do and how to approach them; we are more likely to take action in order to do business with them.
6. Invest in developing your sales and presentation skills
Having a passion for what you do and how you deliver it will attract prospects, but you need to have excellent sales and presentation skills too. A written proposal will only take you so far.
It is possible to win trust and confidence on the phone or in a follow up meeting – but all that good may be lost if you fail to give a strong account of yourself and your business in a more formal setting. Paying for training will return great rewards, for very little investment.
7. Sell value not price
There is a tendency for entrepreneurs to believe they need to compete on price. They may feel they have to be the cheapest in the marketplace; some try to avoid discussing the price or hide it altogether. Statistics show that in reality only one third of buying decisions are based solely on price; the great majority are based on perceived value.
Be proud of your price and always focus on selling the long-term value of your product or service. What else are you offering in addition to the product?
8. Listen to your customers and do not keep talking
The traditional image of the glib-talking salesman is a thing of the past. Modern day selling relies upon being a very good listener who tunes into the true needs of their customer. The key to long-term business success is to become a solutions-provider rather than just a sales person.
If your customer has a problem that you cannot solve directly, is there someone within your network who can?
9. Every customer we win should lead us to the next customer
One of the finest ways of winning business is via customer recommendations. Your future reputation and financial success relies upon the quality of your customer care.
If your customers are happy they will become your ambassadors and will often recommend you without you even knowing they have done so. Looking after your customers is inexpensive to do and the rewards are enormous.
10. Always offer a 100% money-back guarantee
The best way to demonstrate customer care to your clients is to offer the guaranteed risk reversal in the form of a money-back guarantee. I have sold millions of copies of my book s all around the world with the promise that, ‘if you’re not 100% satisfied with the result – I’ll give you your money back.’
I have had a handful of copies returned. Why should your customer take the risk? Would you pay your plumber if his repair struck a leak? You do not ask for your money back from someone who has done a good job. It ensures you take the initial brief carefully too. Guaranteed risk reversal is quality control in the form of a money-back guarantee.