This morning at the Barrie Open Coffee Club our discussion was around Clients – good and bad. It was a reminder to me that even though we are often the only person in our business, the focus of business growth is not about ‘you’ it is about ‘them’ [the client]. We forget this sometimes in our development, in our language, in our interaction during a project, in our conversations and our services; we must be looking to what is needed and not what we want to offer. Let me give you three tips to help you remember where your focus should be when you are looking to grow your business.
1. Marketing Language
Our marketing language should speak to our target market in a way that will attract them and make them take notice. If your target market is athletes, then speak about topics and benefits that will appeal to an athlete. This seems rather simplistic but I often see language that is about your service, your features, your options written in a way that you think would appeal to everyone.
1. Know who you are talking to. I like work on an exercise with my clients to create an avatar (detailed description/image) of their ideal client. By knowing exactly who your ideal client is, what they like, where they hang out, what they read, the dynamics of their family and friends, etc. you can more easily understand what will attract them to your business and ultimately buy from you.
2. Find out what your clients really need or want – not just what you want to sell them. For example; we all need a coat for the winter months in Canada, but we don’t all want a ski jacket. If you are selling light-weight jackets for business dress that a professional will use to go from their car to a venue and back again, then knowing this will help you create the language that will focus on the benefit your clients actually want, like that it is light-weight, has an inside pocket for business cards, can be worn easily while driving, and can be worn over a suit jacket. Selling using language that will attempt to attract everyone because of your amazing product features may get your marketing overlooked by the professionals you need to reach. Focus on their needs not your features.
It is hard to let go when we know we have something of great value to offer, but if you find that you are not getting traction with the sales of your product or service then you need to look at why. One reason why may be that you are not using the right language to communicate the benefits to the right people (as mentioned above). Another ‘why’ may be that you have created something that appeals to you but not to your clients. If you are adamant about heading in one direction while your clients look for something different you are not focusing on their needs.
Evaluate your clients’ needs. Ask them what they love about your products or services and what they would like to see changed. If there is something you cannot sell, ask what they would prefer. Do some competitive intelligence research to see what your competitors are doing, especially if they are very successful.
If you find the product or service you expected to sell well is not selling then be quick to head in a new direction. Don’t be so tied to your expectation that you are unwilling to make the change required to meet your clients’ needs.
We go into business to create an income for ourselves, to develop something we see as valuable, to follow our passion, or to work at something we are an expert at. When you are in business the only thing that really matters is if we serve our clients the way they wish to be served. What is their experience with our products, our place of business, our employees, our service. Do we fulfill our clients’ needs? Do we meet their expectations? Is what we have to offer what our clients really want? Can we reproduce our clients’ best experiences over and over?
To be able to serve your clients you must ask yourself and your clients these questions so you can evaluate your offering. Always be looking for ways to stay on top of your clients’ needs and be proactively searching for the ways to give the best service possible.
Online, in person, over the phone, or through a distance relationship, your clients are the reason you are in business. Don’t use ego to direct your business growth. Look to your clients for the things that will make you successful.