It’s difficult enough getting new clients, so how can you make sure they stay in the fold? Unless you have a strategy to keep providing value, why would they stay? In this video I’ll give you 4 strategies for doing so.
I was watching the Crown on Netflix and smiled at the way telephone exchanges worked in the 1950’s. People sitting in exchanges plugging in wires to make connections, with operators still listening in. I said to Barbara, isn’t it amazing how far we’ve come and how fast new ways of doing things come to market today.
Disruption is everywhere. Uber and Airbnb are just two classic examples.
AI is coming to a number of professional services like accounting, legal and even marketing.
There will always be new entrants into your market, cheaper production in a far off country or maybe even next door and clients looking for better value and sometimes the cheapest price.
Your only defence is to continually innovate and add value ring-fencing your customers so they don’t want to go anywhere else.
So let’s discuss how you can do that.
First of all
Get outside input
We’re all too close to our own stuff. Whether it’s in business or life, getting an outside perspective is one of the most important things you can do to move forward. A new pair of eyes will point out the obvious – stuff you’ve missed, stuff that could get you out of a rut, spur you onto new levels of success.
And no, the outsider should not come from your industry. The best innovation comes from left field, people who look at what you’re doing and ask “why?” And often you won’t have a good answer “We’ve always done it like that” is not good enough.
Widen your circle. Mix with people who have diametrically opposing views to you. Engage in healthy debate. Build relationships with people outside your normal sphere. See how they’re doing things. Look at how you can combine ideas from different places so the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Read widely. And not just newspapers, magazines and nonfiction. Read novels, especially the classics. Reading will make you a better communicator by broadening your mind.
Talk to your customers
Ask them what they want.
You might think you know how your customers use your products, but I guarantee you’d be surprised at how they really do and what they find valuable.
Your customers will be one of your greatest sources of innovation. They know what works, what could be improved and may even find other uses you’ve never imagined. Some may have designed add-ons which you could incorporate into your base product broadening its appeal.
Hermann Simon researched over a thousand market leaders in America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe, and he pointed out in his book Hidden Champions that that highly successful and innovative mid-sized companies have 25 to 50 percent more direct exposure to their client base than the large end of town whose exposure is somewhere between 5 and 10 percent.
Being close to your target market is a major differentiator ensuring your products will continue to be successful.
So keep talking to your customers. Value their opinion. They’ll feel valued and included in what you do and love you for it. And let’s face it. If you feel involved in a project you’re far more likely to keep buying aren’t you? This is a great way to ring-fence your customers stopping them going to your competition.
Make a commitment to doing at least one of these things daily and I guarantee your business will grow.
And finally, if you’d like unbiased outside input into your business, give me a call. We personally follow every one of these practices and having worked with hundreds of businesses in over 50 industries we’ll bring a unique perspective to your business.
Till next time, this is Rashid Kotwal.