Tag: business strategies

CLEAR Business Development Steps – Part 2

Part 2 in the CLEAR business development planning system is ‘L’ – what are your target Customers (identified in Part 1) looking for?

Not what you want to sell them, what do THEY want to buy? And why? Successful business development requires us to regularly walk in our customer’s shoes and appreciate what they are looking for. Part 2 helps us check-in, reflect and counter our bias wanting to sell what we have and what we believe they need.

LOOKING FOR?

What are your target Customers, that you have decided you want, looking for throughout their journey in searching, assessing, buying, and using your product/service?

You want to create raving fans because word of mouth is by far the cheapest and most common lead generator in any kind of business.

What are your Customers looking for specifically?

Not just shallow stuff, I mean the deep and meaningful stuff. The emotions of using or buying your product/service, the core drivers such as pain points they are wanting to eliminate. And any new innovations or trends they might be aware of. The clearer you are on this the more your message and marketing actions will hit the right buttons. Leads and conversions will increase.

How to Identify What the Customer is Looking for?

To succeed in business development you MUST be in-tune with your Customers needs. And it’s an ongoing process. You never stop seeking to understand your customers.

The fisherman that doesn’t pay attention to the lack of bites, change in preference of bait and where the fish are moving to doesn’t eat!

Here’s a reminder of some of the ways you can confirm what your customers are looking for and I can help you identify suitable strategies and the format:

  • Brainstorm ideas on a whiteboard with the team, especially those talking to your Customers a lot. Segment your Customer’s experience down into it’s stages and list the things they are looking for in each stage – and review if you are providing them.
  • Ask them when next speaking with them. Can be a casual question or more detailed discussion over coffee, lunch or brainstorming session with their team.
  • Suggestion box on your counter – make sure staff encourage Customers to fill out the form and keep the form really simple.
  • Online survey or post purchase survey. Keep them short! No more than 5 questions. It is important to design your surveys well otherwise they won’t tell you anything useful. I can help you if you need.
  • Testimonials – notice what your customers say they liked! This is gold and gives you great insight to what they valued. Make sure you weave this into your marketing copy.
  • Read. make sure you stay up to date with your industry and where it’s going. Subscribe to online forums, newsletters etc. Take note of what the trends are overseas because this can give you a competitive advantage if you are one of the first to introduce a new feature/service/product here in Australia.
  • Attend conferences, tradeshows etc.

Make a list.

Then make sure you are covering these features/feelings/benefits in your marketing material, website, emails, conversations, POP displays, newsletters etc.

WOW FACTOR – where’s the WOW?

To create raving fans that work for you as your marketers and sales team, you need a wow factor. It’s not hard! Or expensive. Often just the simple little touches add the wow factor. I was standing in line for Christmas and a shop assistant was handing out bottles of water – not expensive but was a welcome jesture and made me feel significant as the customers. Remember one of the six core needs we all have is to feel ‘significant’. I love the fact with Uber I don’t have to pay cash or take a card out of my wallet and go through that process of tapping, waiting for the machine to connect and approve payment, waiting for the taxi driver to print his receipt and then print mine.

What can you do to add some wow? Something worth talking about?

Knowing what your Customers are looking for will help you identify a wow factor. Is it an easier way to purchase, a thank you note/gift, a follow up call, an easier delivery system, a simplified booking system, better labeling, better presentation, better Customer service…?

January is a great time to touch base with Customers and ask them what they’d like to see you provide in 2017, or what they’d like improved. The trick here is to encourage them to suggest anything, regardless of what they think your limitations are. Customers have a preconceived idea of what you can provide…right or wrong.

If you need help coming up with a wow factor, let me know.

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So there you go. Steps C and L in the CLEAR business development planning strategy.

Identify your Customer and identify what they are looking for and make sure you are not just meeting but exceeding their expectations. And make sure you are covering what they are looking for in your marketing.

Next step is Earnings. What you want to Earn and how. I’ll cover that in Part 3.

CLEAR – Business Development Steps – Part 1

Love this time of Year! 🙂

I’m enjoying a nice morning with no work pressure, a great coffee, birds singing and it’s not cold or too hot. I find this time of year is such a great time to start planning 2017.

If you are wanting to do some strategic business development thinking for 2017, I’ll be sharing a few tips and strategies over the next couple days that will help. And as always, PM me or email if you have specific questions.

Step 1: WHERE’S YOUR DEPARTURE POINT?

It would be absurd to go into a travel agent and say,

“We want to go to New York…can’t confirm which airport we will be departing from…but can you tell us your best deal and route?”

First step in planning your #businessdevelopment is to know your starting point. Second most important step is to know where you want to go. I find many businesses are good at knowing the target, the destination but fail to reflect on the starting point. Therefore their strategies are no where near as effective as they could be.

You may have read my CLEAR business planning acronym in a previous post.

  • Customer
  • Looking for?
  • Earnings?
  • Actions required?
  • Responsibility

Checklist for the priority topics to cover as a minimum in your planning.

The CLEAR business development system is quick, simple and helps you cover the essentials and identify your starting point as well as where you are going.

Customer

Who were your best and most profitable customers in 2016? Make a list. It helps the brain process data when it’s on paper because you only have so much RAM (working memory) in your computer-brain to hold ‘stuff’ and think of new stuff.

Typically a business has around 3 different core customer types. Generalisation but I find most businesses will have the ‘B’ customers, the ‘bread and butter’ customers that are steady, always there and generate a large portion of revenue. Bread and Butter B customers keep the cashflow going, keep the business machine oiled.

Then there are the ‘A’ customers that are Awesome and buy big and pay well and are profitable. They tend to be less frequent or less in number, but still essential.

Then there are the ‘C’ customers that cost you time and money to service. You know the ones. 🙂 They might be Cocky or Complainers and take a lot of your time. Remember, you CAN’T buy more time! once gone it is gone. Therefore what would be more beneficial to your business…to spend time on the A and B customers or the C’s? Every 20mins with a C customer is time you could have been wowing an A and B customer so they become raving fans and recommend you to more A and B Customers.

Get clear on which customers you want more of and the percentage mix of A and B and C customers.

For example, I’m a big fan of working less and earning more. Therefore I recommend:

1. Reviewing the ‘C’ customers you need to cut loose. You can do this by raising the price of the current deal they are attracted to or currently on. They will leave of their own accord…and you will be grateful! One of the best ways to increase productivity and profits is to reduce your C customers.

2. Look at what you are doing, saying, promoting to attract the C’s. Fix it!

3. Look at your own thinking. It all starts with you and your thoughts. This can be a harder one to tackle and identify and you may need my help. Do you believe you only deserve C customers?

Now you have cleared up your plan for the C customers, estimate your current number of A and B customers (preferably on paper) and decide how many you want to have in 2017.

I suggest 3 month goals. For example:

By March 2017 I have 5 A customers, 15 B customers.

By June 2017 I have 8 A customers, 27 B customers

etc etc etc

I’ll end here.

In summary, get clear on where you are starting. Identify your current customer mix. Make a plan to reduce your C customers. Set targets for the number of A and B customers you want.

In Part 2 I’ll cover the CLEAR step of identifying what your customers are looking for.

Danger, don’t enter!

Is your shop window scaring your customers away?

I have a theory that we are instinctively wired to hesitate on entering places with no sign of life, no movement. If nothing is moving, subconsciously this means its dead. Or staying still in order to ambush us.

We are drawn to movement, it signifies life, action, things happening.

How’s your shop window look?

I can’t believe how many windows present the equivalent of a ‘scary cave’. And these shops are usually quiet. Go to an expo and notice how the stands with things flashing, waving, or displays moving or bubbling are always the ones with people at them.

Just thought I’d mention this in case your window could do with some attention.

 

Are you Flogging a Dead Horse?

When to throw in the towel

Are you chasing your business dream but feeling like you are treading water? You could be flogging a dead horse.

‘Don’t quit!’ ‘Never give up!’

Rubbish!

The most successful entrepreneurs quit fast and cheap and without guilt. They move on quickly when they hit a dry gully. It is known in the game as ‘pivoting’. But how do you know when that horse has died? Here are three red flags for me when I’m talking to a client about their business.

1. You’ve been at it for 3 or more years and you are still not profitable.
Businesses, like farming, take time. You need to plant the seeds of your business, nurture your customer base, and grow the best mix of products. There seems to be a magic three year mark regardless of the industry. At this point, you should really be starting to see a steady inflow of customers. If after 3 years you are struggling, something is wrong and it could be terminal. Especially if it will require more financial resources than you have available to keep going, or new technology has made your offer obsolete or too expensive.

And if you haven’t been in business for three years yet? Don’t panic, it could be too early to pronounce the horse dead. You need to look at how your business is trending over the past year. If your profits and customer numbers have shown a steady increase, then you could be ok. Whether you are ok or not will depend upon whether you have the financial resources to keep going at the current level of growth.

2. You are getting little or no repeat business.
If your customers are not coming back for more or telling friends about you, something is wrong. Plain and simple. You need to be creating raving fans. No matter what the industry, word of mouth is one of the most cost effective and essential business generators.
Don’t despair just yet. Frequently the reason is an easy fix. And then in some cases the business owner is just not suited the line of business and its time to move on. Independent advice from a good business coach is essential at a time like this.

3. You have lost your mojo.
If going to work each day does not excite you, or you are procrastinating on important tasks, listen to your gut feeling. If everyday feels too hard, or your health or family life is suffering, something is wrong. Even amongst the hard work of business, you should feel a sense of excitement or achievement.

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If any of these 3 red flags sound like you and your business, then it is time to check your horse’s pulse. It is time to get some objective professional help to assess your business and help you decide whether it is time to get off the horse or change direction.

A business coach or mentor can help identify the blocks and causes to the above and help you make clear and accurate decisions on whether to get off the horse or pivot. Business owners often don’t acknowledge ‘lost opportunity costs’. This is the money you could be making if you went in a different direction and every month counts. One thing we can’t buy more of is time.

Remember: it is not a sign of failure to quit while you are still ahead; it is a sign of a seasoned entrepreneur who knows when to cut their losses and move on to the next challenge. And quitting doesn’t mean your dream is over!

Getting off a dead horse frees up your time, money and creative energy so that you can apply it to a business that will deliver your dream.

Complimentary Checkup
I specialise in quickly identifying whether your horse is ‘dead’ or just has a bad cold, or whether you need to change direction.

Shoot me an email or give me a call to book an obligation free checkup and prescription.
0400 520 471
david@davidlennon.com.au

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