There are few things that matter more to a business owner than their clients. After all, without customers there is no business. Yet, do you really know who your customers are? Why they work with you? Why they come back?
Most business owners don't. They don't know much about their customers other than their customers buy their products. The key to creating a successful business is to be able to use marketing to help bring more customers like you have now to your sales table. And, in order to do that you need to understand as much as you can about your active customers so you can speak to them. Directly and in their voice. If you're not talking to them you're talking at them, and they won't hear you. The goal of marketing is for your prospects and customers to see you, listen to you, relate to what you're saying, and give them a reason to work with you. So, to understand more about your customers consider asking yourself the following questions:
1. Who are my clients?
Do you know who is supporting your business? You probably have different types of clients, as most businesses do. You have customers who buy from you consistently, whenever they can, and as much as they can. You probably have some clients who come back occasionally to get more of what they need, or to see if you have anything new. And, then there is that one time client. They came, they saw, they bought, and you never heard interacted again. The client that got away. Or, the client that you were happy to see leave. Either way makes no difference. We all have a transaction or two.
If you want to minimize transactional business, and create ongoing business relationships with your clients, even clients who only buy from you occasionally, knowing your client breakdown is important. Why? Not every client is worth the same to your business! You want to know your client breakdown so you can identify potential areas where you can grow your business quickly and simply. And, this is usually with your most important target audience...your active existing clients! It's a lot easier to get an active client to buy more (products, frequency, dollar value) than it is to acquire a new client. And, with some targeted marketing to your occasional clients you may find that they're wanting to work with you, but don't really know what else they want!
Most business owners spend their time on the hunt in lead generation, and miss the obvious "next sale" from an existing client. Today, if you don't nurture your clients, someone else will nab them. And, you want to nurture your clients at the place they are now. In our fast paced society clients don't have time to look for you, they're going to turn to someone who is there when they need them. Developing client relationships is the key to getting more clients who buy from you consistently.
Looking at your client breakdown and strategically targeting specific client types with a marketing message that is unique to their position in your business will help you get more sales. And, you'll be happier and more confident in the process. It will make you feel less like you're hawking products and more like you're solving specific problems. Because your different clients may have slightly different problems! And, your clients will notice and appreciate the attention. Plus as an added benefit, knowing this information will help you identify who your perfect ideal client actually is because most business owners don't know this information, but this is a topic for another article!
2. Why do they work with me?
If you know why your clients work with you, or refer other businesses to you, you have an opportunity to use this intelligence to have more of your ideal clients find you. Remember, marketing is about visibility, getting the right people to find you, and this is only possible when you're marketing to them specifically. Getting them to see you consistently, intentionally, and consistently. Building the know, like, and trust factor. And, how do you do that? You do it by showing up as the solution to their problem. When they're ready to say "YES." And, in language that resonates with them.
The hardest thing for a business owner to learn is not why they think someone works with them, but why someone actually works with them. The specific challenges. The specific words. The specific ways words are phrased. This means they're in their client's minds, instead of their own. Yet, this intelligence is money in the bank. If one client needs you for the reason they say, there are other clients needing you for that same reason. You may think everyone works with you for one reason, and then you come to find that they work with you for an entirely different reason. When you learn to listen to your clients, really listen to them, they'll tell you what they want and what they need. They'll tell you about the marketplace. They'll tell you about the competition. While you may speak the language of your company, your clients speak the language of your success. Listen carefully. Knowing these answers helps you fine tune your brand message so you can create more effective marketing. More effective marketing leads to more sales. More effective marketing leads to better clients.
3. What do they need more of from me?
Feedback is an amazing success tool because it tells you what clients want. Every marketing and sales activity you do in your business should have built in analytics so you can see from client to client, marketing effort to marketing effort, and product to product, what works. Today, it's incredibly simple to get feedback because there are so many online tools to help. All you have to do is ask the right questions!
Building client relationships is the best path to success so understanding what a client needs, wants, likes, and is looking for next in their business success journey is critical. If you know the answer to this question you can support them as they grow. It shows you understand their business. It makes you a market leader. And, supporting them as they grow gives them a reason to continue wanting to work with you. Consider that support can come a lot of different ways, for instance:
What does your product funnel look like? Even if you offer custom solutions for clients, do you have a clear path for them? Your product funnel helps you create marketing that keeps customers coming back for more. If you've seen a client's journey start, don't you want to continue to provide them with enough training/support/products so they can move to the next step of their own business journey? Or, give them a reason to keep using your products? Seeing the bigger picture of their business lets them know that you're there for them, and care for them and their success!
These three questions get you thinking about your customers, instead of your business. When you're doing this you're looking at a bigger picture of your business, and stepping out of a "What's in it for me" mindset. And this is the place where you open up a world of possibilities for both you and your clients.
To your SWEET success!
Abigail Tiefenthaler is the founder of Sweetspot Strategies, Inc. She is passionate about helping business owners create a brand that is marketing worthy, and marketing that builds visibility and brings your ideal clients to your sales table. She would love to help you align your brand to your business. Or, work with you and your employees to help them understand how to build customer relationships that brings more clients, more income, and a more productive company environment. "Build a Brand and Your Build A Business." Contact her directly at 954-804-9413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every single business owner has something they do brilliantly. Most of the time it is not being an entrepreneur. Most small business owners didn't start their business because they wanted to be entrepreneurs. They started their business because they made or did something other people wanted, and were willing to buy.
We all have skill gaps. I will admit to having several, especially in the area of accounting and technology. I have learned over my 18 year journey as an entrepreneur that if you want to build an enduring business, identifying your skill gaps and finding the right people to help you close them is the soundest business strategy I can ever offer a new business owner. The idea of surrounding yourself with people smarter than you comes to mind, but remember, they only need to be smarter than you in the area where you're not as smart. And, if you've been in business long enough you know that we all possess different strengths, there is nothing wrong with admitting that you need help in a specific area or two, or three! We can be a better visionary and creator when we have people who are helping us understand the potential practicality and processes of our ideas. And, most entrepreneurs are visionaries or creators.
Small business owners fail primarily because they have great ideas that don't go anywhere, not because the idea is bad. Ideas need a multitude of skills to come to fruition. Do an assessment and identify your skill gaps, and then find the right people to help you fill them. Your business is a journey, just like any vacation. When you have people along to help you "Mind The Gap" it creates an experience that becomes easier to navigate, and gets you to the destination successfully. To your SWEET success!
Abigail's goal is simple, build a brand that positions a business as different and unique, then simplify marketing so it can attract the right prospects.
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