You are in business to generate a profit. Part of the business is having the best products or services which your sales team can sell to your customers. The question is – what makes “Best” products or services. What you think your customer wants or what your customer needs? Simple questions but not necessarily easy to accomplish.
Over the years a lot has been written, spoken about and delivered in various training activities about knowing your customer. Marketing research to gather, decipher, analyze and craft a product or service plan are excellent to get a solid understanding of the customer needs. This moves a guess or hunch into a tangible fact-based definition of the products or services the particular marketplace requires to accomplish its objectives. It outlines what your company must deliver in order to solve a problem the customer can’t fix on their own. If they can solve the problem on their own then making the sale is far more challenging.
Your customer buys from you for a variety of reasons. Do you know what they are or are you assuming what they are?
Assuming is a risky business model. It places at risk your business asset for the sake of hoping you are correct. Maybe you have lots of extra income you can just toss into the wind but most organizations take a more defined approach to understanding their customers. When we speak of understanding the customer we need to look beyond the apparently obvious. If they dig holes for a living then they likely need a shovel. The larger question is – what type of holes are they digging and what size shovel or even piece of heavy equipment do they need to be most productive.
To understand your customer you first need to understand the business they are in. What are the problems they face on a daily basis? What impact do the industry and regulations have on their ability to be productive? Are there other internal factors such as the culture of the organization? How might the age of the business or the age of the leadership impact the relationship?
If your business has been around for more than 5 years then you might be resting on your historical customer profile. This model could be eroding your profit model because the business your customers were in has also changed. Many of us more senior business people had heard the talk about the horse whip going away as a result of the advent of the automobile. That change took place over multiple years. Today, change is happening at a radically quicker pace. Trends, problems and the products or services to fix them can be outdated in as short of time as 12 months.
This week take some time to evaluate if you genuinely understand your customer. Their needs, wants, industry dynamics and culture. How is their business changing and how should yours change to stay current with their demands?
Curious about how your business stays current on customer demands? Call JKL Associates at (313) 527-7945 to start some open dialogue.