I wrote earlier about how one key to building a solid client service plan is to decide what your vision is.
Here we’ll talk about the second step in taking your satisfied clients and turning them into raving fans. You have to know what your clients want. When you know who your clients are, you will know better how to serve them. Understanding the demographics are really important here. A higher income earning woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working-class man in his 50’s.
There are four areas you want to consider and think about when figuring out what your clients want:
- Listen to Your Clients
- Ask Your Clients Sincerely
- Offer More than Just a Product/Service
- Know When to Ignore Them
These are all important when deciding what your clients want out of their experience with you.
Listen to Your Clients
You want to listen not only to what is said but also to what is not said. Clients often say they want one thing and really want something else. For example, if your clients are asking for lower prices, you may discover that their real need is a low-risk engagement.
Also, listen to your “quiet” clients. These are the ones that don’t bother to complain because they feel that the service was so bad they’ve just given up. Or, don’t feel like their voice matters. A way to do this is to survey clients or check in after a service delivery to ensure they are satisfied.
When clients say “fine” LOOK OUT. This is typically code for, “I don’t care enough to respond”.
Ask Your Clients Sincerely
People know what you’re thinking even if you don’t say it. I have a client that calls his client’s 2 – 3 days after service to ask how the product is working and how was their experience. Lately it has been via text as it gets a better response rate. Ask them questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Let them feel that you care!
Offer More than Just a Product/Service
Your clients are often looking for much more than a product or service, they are also looking for an experience. For many of my clients where they are technically very smart, this means learning how to use emotional intelligence to connect with clients. To allow their clients to “be heard” even when you already know the answer. This helps clients contribute to their solution.
Know When to Ignore Them
This sounds like it goes against providing good client service, but the reality is, you can’t give them everything and some people you cannot satisfy. This is where being clear on your niche, and how you serve them, is important. If you encounter a potential client that doesn’t fit your vision and the work that fits your superpower, they are not going to be happy. They will be happier somewhere else.
If you get stuck, take a tour of our resources, and let us help you through the process.
Let’s talk about the phases of growth your business will go through and how to get the most out of each phase, while also extending the life of your business.
The four different phases of a business life cycle are:
We’ll talk a little about what each one is and how they can each help expand your business’ life.
This is typically where the owner is doing it all and they are relying upon their expertise and specialty. In the book The E-Myth they would call this a technicians time. At this point, it is hard to separate the business from the owner. The business is dependent upon the owner to be there, to deliver, and to leverage their expertise.
But a business owner can’t stay here forever and grow. They have to understand the next steps.
In this phase you want to start bringing on your support staff and learn to delegate to allow growth to happen. You need to keep a strong emphasis on the technical skills that your organization brings to the busines and the deliverables. This phase really belongs to the manager. You now start planning for the future while managing the assets and resources you have.
There is a point of growth in every successful business where business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as the Transition. It’s a good problem to have. But it presents new challenges, nonetheless. You are now faced with a number of choices:
- Stay small avoid growth and be comfortable
- Go out of business as you can’t keep up
- Persist and move into the next phase
The last phase is maturity or developed, this doesn’t mean the end of your business. Your passion and drive for growth has to continue in order for you to succeed. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward. This is where working ON your business is crucial.
You see how all four of these cycles are connected and depend on a strong foundation for each one of them for your business to be, and continue to be, successful. Your three key roles (Technician, Manager, and Entrepreneur must also work together to work through these cycles. If you have read the e-myth, you know these roles as technician, manager, and entrepreneur.
If you are frustrated dealing with the transition from one phase to the next, and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, try our FREE test drive and work with one of our amazing coaches.
Let’s talk about building your team. As your business grows, you will need and want to add staff because you can’t do it all.
There are essentially archetypal roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success. In the book, The E-Myth Michael Gerber calls them:
- The Technician
- The Manager
- The Entrepreneur
You need all of these roles and initially if you are by yourself you may play all of them.
This person is the “doer”. They are the specialist that actually does the work. They have the subject matter expertise or the technical skills to actually deliver the goods for the customer. This is typically the most visible person of the entire operation. These people represent the present.
Is the one “managing” resources. Scheduling work, ensuring the books are taken care of, and that the marketing and payroll are handled. They are the practical side of the business. These people are learning from past mistakes and planning the efficient use of resources. They represent the past in this analogy.
The person that represents the future is the Entrepreneur. They are the visionaries that are always pointing toward the future. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding, and more. They represent the future.
All three of these roles are essential in the success of any business. If you want a solid foundation for your business, you want to be committed to getting the right person or people into these roles and not just be filling positions. DO NOT shortchange this process. Clearly, you need to be one of these key people. But many business owners think because they founded the business, they should be the “entrepreneur”. I recently celebrated a friend’s five-year business anniversary and she announced the new CEO of the company. Someone she brought in to be the visionary, the master planner for the company. The owner realized that she was great in the trenches and loved doing the hands-on work with their clients, she was the Master Technician so to speak.
This might be hard for you as you will need to relinquish some control and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.
Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach you the practical steps to move your business forward through each stage of growth when you try our FREE test drive.
Are You Overwhelmed with How to Create Content to Connect with Your Buyer? Three Steps to First Marketing Plan
Many small business owners get so busy “working” that they don’t have time to market. And then when the “work “they are doing is done, they look around and ask, “Where are my customers?” One way to avoid this is to have a marketing plan that is easy to execute and that pulls customers to your business.
This can seem complicated but, with a bit of creativity, it can be simple and fun.
First: Create the baseline content. Think of this as your warehouse of ideas. Step one; write down the top ten questions your customers tend to ask you. Step two; write down the top ten questions you wish they would ask you. Step three; answer those question in 300 to 500 words for each question.
Congratulations, you now have twenty Blog posts.
Second: Review the twenty questions and your answers and ask yourself what are the three to seven things that are most important to help your buyer? Pull those out and create a flyer, free report, or check list that you can trade to prospective buyers in return for their email address. For example:
- The Top Three Things Your Should Ask Your Plumber
- The 14-point Checklist That Ensures Your Success
- Don’t Allow Your Accountant to Surprise You
You can find a graphic designer to help you put together the finalized product and now you have a “Lead Magnet.” Something to attract potential buyers.
Third: Review each of your blog posts and pick the most valuable idea from each, then write 150 – 200 words. And create a video for social media on each. You can record these on your phone. And you can download a teleprompter app like BigVu for both a free and professional version.
Congratulations you now have twenty videos or twenty weeks of “Content” to help you attract potential customers.
By taking time at the beginning to list and answer twenty questions you have created almost an entire years’ worth of content and a lead magnet by repurposing the content.
You have twenty blog posts. You have twenty videos. And you have a lead magnet. Put these pieces together and ping your potential customers emotional hot buttons and watch your business explode.
If you are overwhelmed and are looking for ways to acquire customers, check out my website with free resources.
Stay Positive, Test Negative
You will have an endless stream of companies offering to help you to market your business…, by helping you spend your money. And at some point in your business that is appropriate. For those of you starting out, there are a number of ways that cost zero or very little money
Email your data base. (You have one, don’t you?) If not, start one. Most newsletters and email newsletters go out every three to five months. And while you are not in relationship with your tribe, someone else is. I hope it is not your competition!
How to begin? Look at competitors and see what they are doing. Most are saying “buy our stuff”. Instead you can offer them value. Your buyers and potential buyers are on a journey. They are trying to decide, “do I buy this product or service category or not.” They are afraid of making a mistake. You can help by educating them on the industry, the product or service category, the risks, the rewards, AND why you are the best choice. Then they get to buy your product versus being sold your product.
Send out THANK YOU cards. No one else is doing it. Send Out Cards has built a multi-million-dollar business helping people stay consistently in touch. Why? because it delivers results.
Want to take it up another level? Pick up the phone and call your customer a few days after the purchase to ask, “How is it working? Are you happy?”
Your email signature: how often have you looked at the bottom of an email for a phone number? Isn’t that a great place for your Market Dominating Position, your book, your certifications? It is another place to show people how you add value.
Craig’s List, Thumbtack, Fivver, are all places where you can promote your business with little to no cost.
There really are countless ways to market and promote your business at little to no cost. More importantly, remember it is NOT where you put your message, IT IS YOUR MESSAGE. A variation of “I need customers” is not what you want to say and that is what most ad’s say. Connect with your buyers want, their problems, and your solutions.
If you are eager to grow your business and frustrated with lack of customers let’s talk.