Business-Building Ideas From Terry L. Brock
Building quality, profitable relationships in business is much like farming. I call it Relationship Farming. Like the farmer who keeps us all alive (thank you, real world farmers!) you have to study the soil (know what is happening in the world and environment of your customers), plant the seeds (send your message in a positive, respectful way), nurture the plants and they grow (provide continued benefits), allow for ample moisture and fertilizer (keep providing what the customer needs), and be around for harvest (have systems in place to process sales). Then when all the work is finished it is time to begin for next year! In business this means, as the legendary Yogi Berra told us long ago, “It ain’t over till it’s over!” In business, it is never over and that is good news.
But how do you keep those wonderful, delightful people who pay our bills (call them customers, clients, members, guests —- whatever —- they are the people who pay our bills!) happy?
Keep creating experiences that make customers say “WOW!”, when they deal with you.
Winston Marsh is a marketing guru from Australia who has shown us for years how to “Make ’em say WOW!”, in his marketing. He says we have to focus on how to create experiences so that customers are dazzled with what happens to them.
This might seem like a lot of work. Fortunately it is and it isn’t. By that I mean that it does require serious thinking and planning. See the customers’ experiences from their point of view. What do they have to deal with in your business? In the market you serve, what are the major problems people encounter? Why are they buying from you? What problems are they seeking to solve?
Once you’ve nailed that very important first part, you want to sit down with your people and lay out your plans. Even if “your people” is “me, myself and I” you need serious planning. Where can you make experiences pleasant and easy for customers? What can you do to ease their pain?
Recently I had the chance to experience positive customer service at a conference I attended. It is called FreedomFest and is put on by Dr. Mark Skousen. He is a professor of Economics at Columbia University. You wouldn’t think of “good customer service” normally when you think of a university professor. Yet, Dr. Skousen and his excellent team of people make this event a very positive experience for his market every July in Las Vegas.
The speakers addressed a wide variety of topics (something important to those attending), they were some of the tops in their respective fields anywhere in the world (knowledge and credibility are vital for those attending FreedomFest), and the price was right (always important). There were ample breaks and time to network with others. The exhibit hall provided many vendors who could help customers. This, by the way, helped both vendors and paying attendees.
Then for the finale, there was a wonderful banquet with really good food (often unusual in hotel settings), a great, fun, live band and a chance to cement relationships that were established during the event. It really was a WOW! experience for those in attendance. I heard that from many attendees.
So, what can you do in your business to create that WOW! experience? Here are a few ideas to get you started, and to use as a check-up on what you’re doing now:
- See the world through your customers’ eyes. What is causing them pain? Where are they hurting? What can you do to help relieve the pain? Don’t just assume you know, talk with them and listen. Find out from them what is going on and what they want solved.
- Do the hard work of thinking. Yes, it is hard work as you struggle with options. Mark Skousen spent many hours, days and weeks with his team formulating just the right concepts to make FreedomFest outstanding for those attending — a typically difficult market to please.
- Provide important “extras.” Find key areas that add that wonderful new dimension that brings a smile. Not so much huge, expensive additions but little, important-to-the-customer touches that keep bringing them back.
- Automate as much as possible. Make the systems around your business fine-tuned and bullet-proof. Yes, use technology but think in terms of systems and developing better systems all the time.
- Constantly review and revisit what you’re doing on how to tweak and make it even better.
Be so focused on their problems that they would complain if you weren’t around to help them! Make it your goal to become indispensable in the minds of your customers. That is what Relationship Farming requires and that is the benefit for your long-term business.
Bonus Tip: Create multiple WOWS. Most any business can do at least one WOW. Find multiple ways to create those WOW moments for customers (at least three) and you’ll find you have won customers over for a long time. This is what Relationship Farming is all about.
Relationship Farming. Yes, it takes work. But the benefits are outstanding for your customers — and for you.
Copyright © 2009, Terry Brock and Achievement Systems, Inc. Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and professional speaker who helps businesses generate profitable results. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or through his website at www.terrybrock.com. Join the Twitter adventure with Terry through his Twitter address: @ TerryBrock.