As a management consultant and business advisor, I am always on the lookout for new perspectives on management – the so-called “keys” to commercial success. You and I both know how many new theories (and books expounding on them) come out every year. And we also know how much of them are useless bunk. Well, my advice today is among the oldest and simplest. And it’s particularly relevant in difficult economic times. What is this brilliant advice? It’s simple: Get to know your current customers and serve them well. Boom! There ya go!
I see so many companies that are focused on developing new business that they tend to forget (or possibly worse, take for granted) their existing customers. What else would account for the fact that so many businesses are happy to reserve their best offers for new customers, while raising prices and offering questionable service and attention to existing, loyal customers? As you contemplate your company’s plans for 2021 (which I remind you is not that far away!), please consider these ideas:
- Stop and listen. When was the last time you asked your customers how you are doing and how you can be more useful and relevant to them? Use surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews, whatever. Just ask. And then act on what you hear.
- Visit. Plan a personal visit from the company’s execs to your top customers – when that opportunity is available again. Live and in-person. It never ceases to amaze me what my clients and my prospective clients tell me in person that they would never think to tell me by phone or email. At a minimum, schedule a video call so they can see your face and you can see theirs.And nothing tells them that they are important more than personal attention from your executives.
- Discuss Their Goals. Set aside some time to outline the key goals of as many current customers as you can. See if you identify the key things that make them competitive in their markets. Ask if you can review it with them and make revisions. Let them know that in order to better meet their needs, it’s important to understand where they are trying to go. Ask them how you can help them meet their goals. I think they will appreciate the initiative, the attention, and the desire to strengthen the relationship. Reiterate that this info will be held confidentially and won’t be used for selling to them. This is about serving them better, not selling to them.
We all know that repeat business from existing customers is tons cheaper than chasing new business (which has become more and more difficult in this economic climate). We also know that they are often the best referral sources for new business. So where’s the most fertile ground, the most value for your business development efforts? It’s right under your nose – your current customers!
Let’s make sure your organization has a solid path to the future. Please feel free to reach out and get in touch and let’s explore how I can help you and your business succeed. No pressure. Just an informal discussion to explore some ideas.
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