Taking care of the business basics - part 1
Taking care of the relationship you have with your clients is the first step in encouraging your business to thrive.
As a business owner, however, it can be very easy to get immersed in the minutiae of creating the product or service you want to sell. Most of the time the business working hours are taken up with creating, developing and perfecting it. So much so that often other essential parts of the business are left either to the last minute or not taken into consideration.
You might know all about what you are selling, but are you paying attention to who are you selling to?
The four elements on the “customer pathway”
Every prospect will follow a similar path to become your ideal customer:
- They hear about you
- They take a decision to buy from you
- They buy something for the first time
- They come back to buy again
This is, of course, a high level description of the steps so lets explore each in more detail.
1. How you reach your customers
How you reach your customers starts with identifying who they are. It’s really important to know your ideal client and why they want to buy from you. Be specific about them and avoid too broad a market.
You want to have a real person in mind, rather than a general group of people. Know what they like and dislike, where they hang out (both on and offline) and what gets them excitied. That way you can home in on the people who are most likely to be interested in you and your business.
2. How to prove you are 'their kind of business'
Consider whether you have a process mapped out for converting prospective customers to buying customers. The quality of relationship you cultivate with people who might buy depends on whether you close a deal, and better yet have those people come back to buy from you.
This doesn’t mean how nice you are to them when they are handing over the money, but what your service looks like throughout your customers’ experience. Map out from start to finish how you deal with them from the moment they first come across you, and include how you efficient and successful you are in dealing with complaints.
The more evidence you get from past clients the better. You can share it via your website, Google and Facebook reviews and as posts on social media. It all shows a prospect that you are the kind of person they want to talk to.
3. Your customers’ experience during purchase and service
To sell successfully, you need to be the solution to your customers’ problem. You give value to your business if you can demonstrate an expert knowledge of your product or service as being the answer to what prospective customers are looking for to solve their problems. But service doesn’t finish at the point of sale.
Asking for feedback from past customers also tells you if you are getting the whole experience right or not. Most customers can be encouraged to fill out an anonymous form, whether hard copy or in the form of an online survey. From this information you can improve your service immeasurably.
Your customers see things that you might not have spotted, and taking on board what they have to say about your business can improve things for your next set of customers
4. Ensuring your customers are returning customers
Keeping your business fresh with new ideas and output is important to keep appealing to your already established customer base. A continuing relationship with your clients that includes regular feedback makes it easier to try out new services and give you an understanding of what will bring people back to buy again. Having a flexible plan to follow up on every client saves you months of constantly chasing new markets to sell to.
Taking care of every step in this process isn't complicated - but it takes time and attention. Done well, you have free market research and good quality feedback so you can continue to hone and improve what you do.
If you are ready to invest time in improving your business basics then take a look at our FREE online training courses