Welcome to this new version of my business growth tips where I share strategies, tactics, ideas, successes, and some failures, to help you grow your business.
“The best business strategies focus on delivering measurable value and results to your ideal customer.” — Phil Symchych
You’re busy. The executive summary is a one minute read. The full article is five minutes.
Peter Drucker says the main purpose of a business is to serve its customers.
Yet many businesses don’t measure how effective they are at serving their customers. More importantly, they don’t measure how they impact their customers’ businesses and results. Do you?
Take these actions to learn more about your customers’ needs and how you can add more value.
Proactively call or visit your customers and ask them open-ended questions, such as:
- How are your products/services helping your customers to achieve higher quality, lower cost, or better speed in the market?
- What kind of results are your customers achieving using your products and services?
- What about your customers’ customers? What kind of results are they achieving using your customers’ products and services, and how can you help with that?
- What are the pain points or inconveniences of using your product or service?
- How could you improve your current product or service to make your customer’s life easier and better?
- How can you help your customer to improve their overall business results?
Remember to give your customer time to think and respond to your important questions. The phone can be your best tool to enhance your competitive advantage.
In fact, you can use your phone to call me (306 992 6177) or reply to this email if you’d like to schedule a complimentary 20-minute session to discuss how you can assess your customers’ needs. I promise I won’t try to sell you anything!
The Full Story: Assessing Your Strategy
According to Peter Drucker, the founding father of modern management, the purpose of a business is to serve a customer.
From my perspective, the purpose of your business, especially if you are B2B, is to improve your customer’s business…or their life.
Yet many businesses don’t measure their customer impact, satisfaction, or any customer metrics.
If a customer isn’t calling and complaining, they must be happy, right?
Customers are busy, just like you are. They may not even know if they’re happy with their purchase or your service.
It’s a huge opportunity for you to proactively call you customer and quantify your impact on their business and results.
Given the inflationary trends we’re seeing, spikes in energy costs, and ongoing supply chain challenges, there is significant value in you calling on your customers.
My friend Alex Goldfayn, a Wall Street Journal multiple best-selling author on sales, advises his clients to call their customers and ask how they are doing, sincerely, before trying to help them buy anything. By staying in touch on a personal level, you will be top of mind at the business level, too.
Given all the high-tech communication tools at our disposal, the phone can be your secret weapon. More on that later.
This article is the final part of a two-article series on assessing your strategy.
Many of my clients have used this proactive strategy process to provide more value to their best customers and dramatically grow their own businesses. One company grew from $20 million in annual revenues to $35 million in just one year. That company also generated $214 million in total new revenues from this approach.
To review, there are three key factors for assessing your strategy every quarter so you can adjust in real time and continually improve performance. The three factors are:
- Key metrics (which we discussed in the last article)
- Customer needs
- Value added
Figure 5.1 Three Critical Strategy Review Factors
Today, we’ll discuss customer needs and value added. The key to assessing your customers’ needs and adding value is to call your customers and have a conversation.
Customers’ needs will vary and may originate in how they use your products and services to deliver their products or services. This will likely be their initial—and important but short-sighted—response.
You want to ask them questions (see below) to think beyond their immediate utilization to how they impact their customers.
Yes, you’re identifying your customers’ needs by asking them how they respond to their customers’ needs. I know it sounds confusing but following the flow of your products and services to your customers’ products and services, and ultimately to the end user’s needs, will help you to identify how to add value throughout the chain.
In terms of value added, it pays to look at what drives up costs in your business that doesn’t enhance value to your customer. Also, what do your customers value most and how can you deliver more of that, as quickly or cheaply as possible?
Specifically, think like a consultant and ask open-ended questions. Give your customers time to think and respond. Don’t jump in with more questions or comments.
- How are our products/services helping you to achieve higher quality, lower cost, or better speed in the market?
- What kind of results are you achieving using our products and services?
- What about your customers? What kind of results are they achieving using your products and services, and how can we help with that?
- What are the pain points or inconveniences of using our product or service?
- How could we improve our current products or services to make your life easier and better?
- How can we help you improve your overall business results?
If you’re a business owner and want help assessing your customer impact, give me a call (+1 306 992 6177) or reply to this email, and we’ll have a complimentary 20-minute session to talk about your business strategy (and I promise I won’t try to sell you anything).
Let’s tie this information back to the metrics we discussed in the first article.
When you quantify and report on metrics related to your customers’ needs and adding value, you will have a more dynamic and responsive business. That will give you a competitive advantage, especially in stressful times of inflation, soaring energy costs, and supply chain challenges.
If the purpose of your business strategy is to serve your customer, how well are you doing? Hopefully this article will give you some actions to take and questions to ask so you can answer this question confidently.
Full speed ahead!
Thanks for reading.